As was first reported late last night by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers and outfielder Nelson Cruz had been working on hammering out a two-year contract extension, and that deal is now reportedly done, as MLB Trade Rumors -- and now FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal -- is reporting that Cruz has passed his physical and that his new two-year deal is worth $16 million plus incentives.
Cruz's arbitration hearing had previously been slated for February 17th, as he sought $7.5 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility, and the Rangers countered with a $5.5 million offer. Assuming that the two sides would have found a midpoint in the $6.5 million range, this deal essentially values Cruz's third and final year of arbitration eligibility at the $9.5 million level -- a bit higher than I expected they would have to pay for his age-32 season, but not all that far out of line from what a perennial 30- to 35-homer threat might be expected to pull down.
The Rangers now have just one remaining arbitration case -- Mike Napoli, who is slated to go to a hearing on February 15th, and who may yet force the Rangers to break their decade-long streak of arbitration hearing avoidance, as Napoli and the Rangers were more than $3 million apart in their respective requests.
More to follow later.