Jul 31, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (17) in the dugout before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Why is Nelson Cruz still a free-agent?

The former Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz still remains on the free-agent market.  May of the big names such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Shin-Soo Choo have been signed to huge contract over several years.

The main issue with Cruz is his $75 million over 4 years or roughly $18 million per year contract demand.   It was rumored that the Philadelphia Phillies considered him prior to signing Marlon Byrd to a $16 million over 2 years contract.

Also, another issue for Nelson Cruz is that the list of teams that were looking for a power outfielder is dwindling.   The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners were the front-runners to sign Nelson Cruz.  Now, both Seattle and Texas have filled that slot and are either done with big signings or focusing on another area in the club.

You also have to question if the recent Bio-Genesis scandal and recent 50 game suspension has anything to do with team willingness to sign him.

For an extreme example, let’s look at Alex Rodriguez.  If he were a free-agent this year and have already served his suspension would any team sign him?  Maybe, but probably not at his ridiculous salary demands.

Now, Cruz and A-Rod are two totally different people.  Cruz did at least apologize about his involvement with Bio-Genesis, while Alex Rodriguez has been making a circus out of it in courts and the media.  A-Rod is like a child who has spilled his milk and is trying desperately to blame someone else and move the focus away from him.  Did Nelson Cruz deliver a heart-felt apology?  Probably not, as long as it took for the apology to come out, it seems doubtful.  But, nonetheless, Cruz did at least do the right thing and face a tough crowd to apology.  That’s more than some people do.

Another reason could be the lack of consistency and defensive that Nelson Cruz brings to the game.  Nelson Cruz did have 2 outstanding years at the plate, once in 2008 batting .330/.421/ .609/1.030 and again in 2010 with .318/.374/.576/.950.

Undoubtedly his bat in 2010 helped the Texas Rangers make it to their first World Series appearance.

After the 2010 season, Cruz batted around .260/.310/.470/.490 with about 25 home runs for the next 3 years.

His offensive power isn’t the main problem.  Some question his defensive abilities.  Last year, Cruz finished with an offensive WAR of 2.2 while his defensive WAR -0.8.

Looking back to prior years, Cruz has consistently under preformed defensively.

Overall, teams maybe considering adding Cruz to their lineup, while it appears his offense may add to their club, his defense will not.  Maybe a team will add him as a DH.  That would seem like a good fit for some clubs, it would even be a good fit for the Texas Rangers.

I don’t expect the 33-year-old Nelson Cruz to sign for more than 4 years.  When the dust settles and he does sign, I still expect him to sign for 3 years at about $12 million a year.  If I had to guess where, I’m still saying Seattle or maybe even the Orioles.   I would say that the Texas Rangers are doubtful, one because Shin-Soo Choo has his jersey number, and two, Jon Daniels and him have already talked, and it seems their conversion was more like an exit interview than trying to negotiate to bring him back

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  • MidniteTease

    I would say that Texas is the most likely to land him at this point (because of the draft pick), except that signing with Texas will blatantly involve not just quietly admitting he’s not a top-tier free agent, but publicly and *loudly* pronouncing the fact. He lost his jersey number to the guy signed to take his place, who’s making the kind of money Cruz thinks he deserves. If Nelson signs elsewhere, even if it’s for a price Texas would have paid for a daily DH, he get’s to present himself to clubs as a victim of the market.

    Of course, that could all be reading more *story* into the situation than really would ever exist.

  • Michael Scott

    I remember when Nelson got to Texas. Thinner, smaller, his career in some doubt with flashes of power . Fast forward a year or two and Nelson is bulked up and hitting a mile. There are rumors even then that he is getting some pharmaceutical assistance. Last year, after the spotlight is on him his production is down. I think the handwriting is on the wall. No one will give Nelson a huge deal because he will not be able to juice. Live by the needle. Die by the needle (or lack thereof)

    • yeager

      You are right Michael, but he has always been big, not that much increase with him. But you are wrong about last year, it was one of his better years even with the spotlight on him, the year before was his overall worst year (the year he was supposedly on HGH). Im not sure what you look at but you have your facts backwards here. 50% of players and probabl 80% of the big time players use some sort of illegal substance to help them. They play over 200 games a year, have many injuries and HGH helps to recover quicker. MLB needs to get over it because they knew about this for years and did nothing. I do not condone the HGH usage but I understand why they do it. But Nelsons worst year overall came the year he used PED and one of his best was last year with all the spotlight on him.

    • JonJoe1959

      Hey Michael S.- Tell us, how much did you Weigh in 2006 and how much do you Weigh now? Don’t Lie Now

  • JonJoe1959

    David Cash:
    You’re nothing but a “Lazy Sham Journalist”., and here’s why.
    First, get off your Rear and try doing your own investigating of the Drug Dealer Anthony Bosch’s Biogenies BS Evidence before passing judgment. Second, Nelson Cruz admitted his use and has apologized, and so has Rodriguez. With that, Rodriguez has Made Clear that he does not use PEDs anymore and since 2004, Rodriguez has Passed every Blood/Urine PED test administered by WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, (over 40-Test in all). **Now That’s Evidence, “Science”. **    Without an admission, you must have “Science” to “Prove” PED use. You, as a so-called sports journalist should know this basic fact. Finally what makes you a “Sham Journalist” is that you and your partners in crime, constantly Boast about being Privy to Bud Selig & MLB, and Anthony Bosch’s Biogenies BS Evidence, mind you, Never showing us the public this evidence. Truth is, thats what you do, “Tell & Sell”. You think we’re to just take your word. ** I Think Not**  David Cash Get Off Your A$$ and Earn Your Stripes. Don’t be a Chump.!!