In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this winter.
Target: Nelson Cruz, OF
2014 stats: .271 batting average, .333 on-base percentage, .859 OPS, 32 doubles, 40 home runs, 108 RBIs
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After signing a one-year deal for a bargain rate of $8 million last winter, Cruz made the Orioles look like geniuses by leading the league in home runs and helping lead them to the postseason as yet another former Ranger contributing in the Mid-Atlantic.
And after that season he had, Cruz is going to command some more money two years removed from a PED suspension that tanked his value last year. Most likely, the Rangers wouldn't want anything to do with Cruz as an everyday outfielder, which was part of the reason they let him walk last season, but what if you could talk him into coming back as a designated hitter on a three-year deal, perhaps?
No one can deny Cruz's power at the plate, and the Rangers can always use that. Why not try to get him to agree to come in as a full-time DH and play in the corner outfield spots while giving guys days off from time to time. Would he go for it? Who knows? But it's worth a shot for a guy who has a good history in Texas and a seemingly good relationship with the organization, even after the PED scandal in 2013.