Cruz is 31 and conservatively is 6’2” 240 pounds. It has become a pattern that every offseason there is a note, message, or interview that discusses his attempts to keep control or lower his weight to help with his legs or knees. It has recently been said that scary skinny Tim Lincecum lost 20 pounds over last year and big boned Brian McCann lost weight to help deal with the Atlanta summers. If Cruz is having conditioning issues they must be addressed, even more so when he will be making an average of $8 million a year.
Offensively he came up huge for the Rangers in the 2011 ALCS versus the Detroit Tigers posting 6 home runs in the ALCS and 2 in the World Series. Against the Tigers he put up a hitting line of .364/.440/1.273 with 13 RBI and 8 hits. But he was a nonfactor against the Tampa Bay Rays hitting close to nothing at .067/.067/.067 in 15 at bats. In the World Series his production was also down at .200/.333/.440. Which is not bad, but it begs the question of what happened from the ALCS to the bigger stage of the World Series?
The 2011 regular season saw him hit .263/.312/.509 which was in line with his career stats of .270/.330/.504. As much grief as Josh Hamilton receives for being injury prone it should be noted that Hamilton played in only 3 fewer games that Cruz in 2012 and had 12 more at bats than Cruz. He also post a higher stat line at .298/.346/.536 and was an All-Star. Also of note that while 2011 was a contract year for Cruz he posted lower numbers than he had in 2010.
Compared to the Angels Torii Hunter who is in the end of a 5 year $90 million deal he matches well against Hunter’s .262/.336/.429 line at a much more team favorable deal. He also compares well to the New York Yankees Nick Swisher’s .260/.374/.449 again at a reduced rate compared to Swisher’s estimated $10 million for 2012
Ultimately the deal that was done well to settle the issue of Cruz for a couple of years on club friendly terms and therefore it passes that test. Yet concerns over his conditioning need to be settled as well as seeing is his down 2011 year was a fluke or is he on the downward slope of his career.
Here is to hoping that Nellie looks at Game 6 and wants to prove that he is better than that. As Always Go Rangers.