Cruz Signing Opens Door Further For Rangers

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The Seattle Mariners made the first big free agent splash of the winter on Monday when they made it official with free agent slugger Nelson Cruz, inking the former Rangers outfielder to a four-year deal with a reported $57 million, a deal that is being widely panned as a bad one for the Mariners given the length and Cruz's age.

But the big signing was felt outside of Seattle, too, as it very well might have further opened the door for the Rangers in the trade market for a big-time outfielder to fill the left field spot that will be vacated by Shin-Soo Choo's projected move to right field.

The two biggest fish rumored out there on the market, of course, are Los Angeles Dodgers veteran Matt Kemp and Atlanta Braves slugger Justin Upton, and the Rangers have been linked to both, especially Upton.

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One would think the Mariners, who were also linked to those two, would now be out on that market after giving Cruz the big deal deal and extending young third baseman Kyle Seager with a $100 million deal. That's one less team contending with the Rangers, who have also recently been linked to an older and cheaper corner outfielder in the form of Prosper resident Torii Hunter.

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