Nelson Cruz Getting Another Look From Seattle?
By Dan Hughes
Having lost out on free agent designated hitter Victor Martinez, it seems the Seattle Mariners are turning their attention to a familiar target. It seems that Nelson Cruz is once again on the Mariners’ radar after having his name attached to the team for most of the 2013 offseason.
According to a report last month by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Mariners had a deal in place for Cruz last season, but Mariners ownership backed away from the deal because of Cruz’s suspension for use of performance enhancing drugs.
Now, as Jon Paul Morosi reports, not only are the Mariners possibly going all in on Cruz this winter, but he has a source that says the Mariners had no such deal last year and do not have a policy against signing players connected to PED use.
"When asked about the team’s stance, a Mariners official said the team does not have a prohibition against signing players who have been suspended for performance-enhancing drug use. Moreover, the team official added that the Mariners have, in fact, had conversations with Cruz’s agent and Cruz himself this offseason. (The official declined to say whether the team has contacted Cabrera or his representative.)"
It has been reported that Cruz is seeking a five-year deal coming off a season in which he batted .271 with 108 RBI and an American League leading 40 homers. I still believe that is posturing to inevitably settle for a four-year deal (The Orioles reportedly offered him a three-year contract).
At the age of 34, turning 35 near next year’s All-Star break, a five-year deal is out of the question for me personally.
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As I stated in my piece about Victor Martinez, A 4-year deal for a 36-year old player is a fool’s errand at best, financial suicide at worst (which is what a five-year deal for Cruz would be after the first year essentially).
But with the Mariners on the doorstep of playoff competition in 2015, they may in fact be going for the jugular this offseason. They may end up offering Cruz a four-year deal with a 5th year option to get him to sign.
Of course, Cruz is not their only option, but he is the most attractive power bat available based simply on last year’s numbers. The M’s have also been tied to rumors involving free agents Hanley Ramirez, Billy Butler and Melky Cabrera as well as trades involving Justin Upton and Matt Kemp.
Call me crazy, but I’d still rather take my chances with ANY of those other available players than overspend for four or five years for Nelson Cruz. Regardless of what he did last year.