Even if outfielder Nelson Cruz turns down the Rangers' one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer -- as he's expected to do Monday -- still consider Texas a strong candidate to retain the slugger's services for 2014 and maybe beyond.
Adam Katz, who became Cruz's agent Aug. 5, hours before the outfielder took a 50-game suspension for performing enhancement drugs, said the Rangers and his client have continued to talk about his potential return.
"We've been engaged," Katz said. "We've never lost engagement."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels also said Thursday he has stayed in touch with Katz and will continue to have dialogue with him. Daniels said he expects Cruz to turn down the qualifying offer. Cruz has until Monday at 4 p.m. to accept the offer.
"If the general speculation throughout the national media is accurate," Daniels said, "I think there’s going to be a lot of big deals given out and with a lack of power, Nellie may benefit from that. We’ve got interest, but we have a level we’ll go up to. We’ll see what happens."
Katz wouldn't comment on whether Cruz will take the qualifying offer. But it's expected Cruz will test the free agent market and look for a deal for more than just the 2014 season.
"Nelson is generating a lot of interest," Katz said.
Katz said his goal since uniting with Cruz -- who fired his agents Sam and Seth Levinson of the ACEs Agency, who had come under fire for their link the Miami-based Biogenenis clinic -- has been to be his new client's biggest supporter.
"I'm his advocate," Katz said. "That's it. Every player has his own unique set of circumstances."
And to no one's surprise the slugger has interest in staying in Texas.
Cruz was welcomed back by the Rangers for the wild-card tiebreaker game against Tampa Bay after serving out his suspension.
"Texas was an incredibly positive experience for him and he feels that way about the front office, his teammates and the fans," Katz said. "And I'm sure they feel the same way about him."