Sep 30, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (17) watches batting practice before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners have interest in Nelson Cruz‘s services. The Baltimore Orioles also have interest in Nelly’s services. The Texas Rangers wouldn’t mind re-signing the slugger to a one year deal. So why in the world is Nelly still sitting out there now that spring trainings all over are beginning to get under way? Is it the draft pick the team will lose? Is it the former steriod use of the slugger? Is it his age? It may be a mixture of all of those things.
We all know that Nelson Cruz was a late bloomer, and that he will turn 34 next season. We all know that he was suspended for fifty games due to using performance enhancing drugs at some point during his career, and we all know that he turned down the Texas Rangers qualifying offer meaning any team other than the Texas Rangers that picks him up will have to give the Texas Rangers their first round draft pick. I believe that the Mariners are still trying to decide between Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales. Morales was a Mariner last season and is a good fit there, but he plays first base and that is a position that the M’s seem to have a log jam at the moment. They also seem to be willing to go multiple years on Cruz, and I can’t imagine why they haven’t pulled the trigger yet, except for the fact that they have already spent so much money on Robinson Cano and Fernando Rodney. They could be out at this point.
The Orioles are a team that has not spent a lot of money during this off-season and are probably trying to decide if the aging Cruz is worth giving up a first round prospect for at the moment. Cruz would be a help in that lineup where the ball seems to really fly out in the summer, he and Chris Davis batting back to back would be a site to see. I am not sure the O’s are sold on him, but if he winds up signing there I would not be surprised at all.
The Texas Rangers would not be willing to go more than one year on a Cruz deal at probably around $10 million or so. Cruz may be stuck taking this deal if he isn’t signed soon somewhere. I for one would be fine with seeing him back in a Texas Rangers uniform, and I think it would help his career if he can have a big year with the Texas Rangers and prove to everyone that he can still hit now that he is off the drugs. But the risk to him is that he either doesn’t stay healthy or he has a bad year. It should be decided in the next week or so, and I am intersted to see where he winds up.