A day after avoiding arbitration with shortstop Elvis Andrus, the Rangers have moved close to a deal that will avoid arbitration with Nelson Cruz. It would be a two-year deal that takes care of his remaining arbitration years, said a baseball source, just as the three-year deal with Andrus took care of his arbitration seasons.
Cruz must pass a physical for the deal to be finalized. The right fielder has been unable to avoid the disabled list the past three years -- hitting it in 2009 for a sprained ankle, and three times in 2010 and twice in 2011 for muscle strains in his legs.
But he has been a terror offensively in the postseason, swatting 14 homers and nine doubles while collecting 27 RBIs. He has 84 homers the past three regular seasons, and had a career-high 87 RBIs in 2011.
The Rangers have one more arbitration case pending. Mike Napoli is scheduled to go to a hearing Feb. 15 in Tampa, Fla., if he and the Rangers can't work out a deal. They are $3.2 million apart, and Napoli could become the first Rangers player to go to a hearing since Lee Stevens in 2000.
-- Jeff Wilson