MLB

Rangers make $14.1M qualifying off to Nelson Cruz

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)

All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz got a $14.1 million qualifying contract offer Monday from the Texas Rangers.

Cruz served a 50-game suspension this year as a result of MLB's investigation in the Biogenesis case. He was able to play in the AL wild-card tiebreaker after serving his penalty.

Texas declined to make qualifying offers to six other eligible free agents, including catchers A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto.

If Cruz declines the offer and signs with another team, the Rangers would get a compensatory pick at the end of the first round of the 2014 draft. Cruz has until next Monday to make his decision.

Cruz was among 14 players disciplined by Major League Baseball for their relationship with Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. Only Alex Rodriguez appealed his suspension.

Before getting suspended in August, Cruz hit .269 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs. He was 0 for 4 in the Rangers' season-ending loss to Tampa Bay.

Along with the two catchers, the Rangers didn't make qualifying offers to closer Joe Nathan, starter Colby Lewis, outfielder David Murphy or designated hitter Lance Berkman. They can negotiate with all of them, but Nathan and Berkman aren't expected back.

Nathan became a free agent last week after declining a $9 million contract option. After the Rangers exercised their portion of a mutual option, Nathan opted out of the deal, as expected, bypassing a $750,000 buyout. The right-hander wants at least a two-year agreement, though Texas doesn't plan to offer him one.

The Rangers declined their $12 million option for Berkman last week. The 37-year-old switch-hitter got a $1 million buyout for the second year of the deal signed in January. He hit .242 with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 73 games last season.

The Rangers got Cruz and Carlos Lee in a six-player deal with Milwaukee in July 2006. Cruz's first full major league season was 2009, when he was an All-Star and hit a career-high 33 homers.

Cruz signed a $16 million, two-year contract to avoid salary arbitration after the Rangers went to their second consecutive World Series in 2011 and he was MVP of the AL championship series. He lost more than $2.7 million in salary and the possibility of earning another $500,000 in potential performance bonuses when he was suspended.

NOTES: The Rangers reinstated LHPs Matt Harrison, their 2013 opening-day starter, and Edwar Cabrera from the 60-day disabled list. Cabrera was acquired off waivers from Colorado on Oct. 16. ... RHP Ross Wolf and LHP Travis Blackley both cleared waivers and were outrighted to the minor leagues. Wolf has agreed to a 2014 minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training. Blackley elected free agency.

Tagged: Lance Berkman, Joe Nathan, Rangers, Nelson Cruz

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