The move was not a surprise to the Rangers, who expected Cruz to test the open market as a free agent.
Cruz, 33, hit .266 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 109 games in 2013. He missed 50 games as he served a suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. He returned for Game 163 and was 0-for-4 in the Rangers' wild-card tiebreaker loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
At the time of Cruz's suspension, he was the club's leading power hitter and run producer. He has hit at least 22 home runs in each of the past five seasons and has driven in at least 76 runs in those seasons as well. In a market that doesn't contain a bunch of power hitters, Cruz could stand to benefit.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and Cruz's agent, Adam Katz, said last week that they have stayed in communication. But Cruz can now see what his value is to other teams. If he goes elsewhere, the Rangers would receive a supplemental first-round draft pick as compensation.
"If the general speculation throughout the national media is accurate, 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," Daniels said last week. "We've got interest, but we have a level we'll go up to. We'll see what happens."