Nelson Cruz was suspended for 50 games as part of MLB's Biogenesis PEDs probe. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Rangers outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz has rejected the team's one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Cruz is the first player to accept or reject a qualifying offer prior to Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline. If a player rejects an offer, his team will receive a supplemental first-round draft pick as compensation if he signs with another team.
The Rangers remain a strong candidate to retain Cruz's talents for 2014 and maybe beyond, according to ESPN Dallas.
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."
The Rangers welcomed Cruz back
for the wild-card tiebreaker game against the Rays after he served out the suspension that Major League Baseball handed down as part of the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drugs investigation.
"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."
Cruz hit .266 with 27 homers and an .833 OPS in 107 games for Texas in 2013.