By Tim Polzer
February 04, 2014

Nelson Cruz will be activated for Monday's play-in game against the Rays. (Harry How/Getty Images) Nelson Cruz hit 27 home runs and 76 RBI despite sitting out a 50-game PED suspension. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Mariners have been linked as a front-runner to sign free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz throughout the offseason, and the team now reportedly is in talks with the former Rangers slugger.

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports the Mariners and Cruz are getting more serious in their negotiations and Seattle is also targeting closer Fernando Rodney.

The Mariners are interested in adding Cruz's power into a lineup that will feature star free-agent acquisition Robinson Cano. Cruz hit .266 with 27 home runs and 76 RBI while also sitting out a 50-game PED suspension tied to the Biogenesis scandal. He is believed to be seeking a multiyear deal.

Heyman writes that the M's are open to going two years with the possibility of a third year. Signing Cruz would force the Mariners to give a draft choice to the Rangers after already forfeiting their first-round pick with the signing of Cano.

The Orioles and Tigers have also been linked to interest in Cruz. The Rangers are believed to be open to Cruz returning with a one-year deal.

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