Nelson Cruz's future as a Ranger is up in the air following his 50-game suspension for involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, but if things had gone his way in the 2012-13 offseason, he'd be calling Arlington home for quite a bit longer. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Cruz and his former agents Seth and Sem Leinson of ACES pitched a four-year, $56MM contract to the Rangers last offseason, but GM Jon Daniels and his staff passed.
Cruz is reporting to the Rangers' instructional league next week (at his own expense) to prepare for a potential playoff push, and while the team has made it clear that he isn't guaranteed a spot, Heyman notes that manager Ron Washington has voiced his desire for Cruz to rejoin the club. Cruz is viewed as a positive in the Rangers clubhouse, and the team is happy that he was open about his mistake.
In terms of free agency, it's not clear if four years and $56MM is still what the 33-year-old Cruz is looking for. The longtime Ranger hit .260/.319/.460 with 24 homers in 585 plate appearances last season but was hitting .268/.330/.511 with 27 homers in just 409 PAs at the time of his suspension. His superior numbers seem as though they should up his price tag, but he's a year older and now has the a PED connection hanging over his head. Cruz has also changed agents recently, switching from ACES to Adam Katz of the Wasserman Media Group a month ago.
Heyman points out that Cruz's 27 homers still lead the upcoming free agent class, so it's easy to assume that his power bat will still be in demand this winter. Prior to his suspension, Cruz had cracked the Top 10 on Tim Dierkes' Free Agent Power Rankings, but the 50-game ban dropped him off the most recent edition of the list.
Cruz is earning $10.9MM in 2013 after signing a two-year, $16MM contract that bought out his final two seasons of arbitration eligibility prior to the 2012 campaign. The contract initially called for a $10.5MM salary in 2013, but he picked up an additional $400K of incentives based on plate appearances in 2012 (as can be seen on Cot's Contracts).