After being just inches to a deal with the Seattle Mariners, former right-fielder Nelson Cruz is now close to a deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Earlier this month it was speculated that Cruz and the Mariners were close to a three year deal with an option for a 4th year, but the Mariners then put talks on hold so they could focus on finding more pitching.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 22, 2014
When Robinson Cano arrived at camp for the Mariners, he started to lobby to bring in the right-handed power hitter, but
“I wish we had Nelson here,” Cano said, “but … we’ve got a front office, they know what they have to do … that’s out of my hands. I know Nelson. (He’s a) great guy, and we know what he can do with his bat and in the outfield.” (Seattle PI – Stephen Cohen)
Nelson Cruz, 33, hit .266 last year with an on-base percentage of .327. He had 27 home runs and 76 RBI, which almost lead the team in both categories. If he wasn’t suspended for 50 games, he would have been the team leader, ahead of Adrian Beltre, who had 30 home runs and 92 RBI.
The team did miss his bat in the month of September. The Rangers started the month on a pace to have the worst record in a single month, but managed to salvage things by winning 7 games in a row to force a game 163 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s no surprise he’s a free agent, Cruz was asking $75 million over 4 years after he turned down the qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers ($14 million). If the Orioles do sign him, they will owe the Texas Rangers a top round draft pick. (The top 10 picks are protected.)