Former Texas Ranger outfield Nelson Cruz was reportedly close to a 3 year deal with the Seattle Mariners, but now the talks appear to be on hold. Mainly because of some recent injuries to their pitching staff.
The Mariners’ number 2 starter, will miss Hisashi Iwakuma will miss the next 4-6 weeks and will unlikely make the start of the regular season. Also, one of the Mariner’s top prospects Taijuan Walker is now dealing with shoulder soreness, making his current status unknown. To add to their injuries list, outfielder Franklin Gutierrez will miss the entire 2014 season due to some gastrointestinal problems.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 14, 2014
Rosenthal also says at this time it is uncertain how this impacts the Mariners and their pursuit of Nelson Cruz.
A source close the situation has only commented that the talks are on hold. Some have speculated it is because Cruz wants 3 years, but they are only offering 2. Or it could be the dollars per year. But it seems mostly likely, they are looking for pitching now.
In my opinion, the Mariners are probably still the most likely candidate for Nelson Cruz, then the Texas Rangers. The Mariners have continued to look for more depth in their lineup, but concerns in their starting rotation have slowed that process.
The Mariners currently have Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, and Logan Morrison as their starting outfielders. They need to add another solid bat and decent outfielder to that mix. They want this year to be the year they turn it around, and more offense will be one thing they will need.
I still expect them to sign him, and probably within the next week or so. If things do go completely south, I’d expect Jon Daniels to pick up the phone and bring Nelson Cruz back for one more year.