The Texas Rangers signed outfielder Nelson Cruz to a two-year, $16 million deal Thursday, avoiding an arbitration hearing.

The 31-year-old had asked the Rangers for a 2012 salary of $7.5 million, with the Rangers offering $5.5 million.

The matter was set to go before an arbitrator next week, but instead the team has locked up the Dominican slugger for the next two seasons.

Cruz was paid $3.65 million last season with Texas, when he hit 29 home runs and drove in 87 runs in 124 games.

The 2009 All-Star has been a key part of the Rangers' back-to-back American League pennants, racking up 14 home runs and 27 RBIs in the last two postseasons.

Cruz was MVP of the 2011 ALCS against Detroit with six homers and 13 RBIs.

The deal comes one day after the Rangers signed shortstop Elvis Andrus to a three-year, $14.4 million contract, avoiding arbitration with the 23-year-old for the next three seasons.

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