Baltimore Orioles to sign Nelson Cruz, sources confirm


Apr 30, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder

Nelson Cruz

(17) hits a home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Chicago White Sox at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Former Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and the Baltimore Orioles have reportedly agreed to a 1 year deal worth $8 million.  Which is way cheaper than the $14 million he would have received with the Texas Rangers or the $75 million, 4 years he was wanting when the offseason started.

The deal comes after a long offseason for Nelson Cruz.  He  would have had an even longer offseason than MLB was giving him, but the Texas Rangers managed to play bonus ball with game 163, allowing Nelson Cruz to play one game after his 50 game suspension for talking banned substances.

When the offseason began, there were a lot of rumors where Cruz would land.  The Texas Rangers gave him a qualifying offer of $14 million, but Cruz declined because he was seeking a multi-year deal.  Shortly after he declined the offer, it was reported that he was asking for 4 years and $75 million dollar.

It appeared the Philadelphia Phillies were reportedly close to an offer, but instead they went with a cheaper deal and signed Marlon Byrd.  And ever since then, the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles remained in the rumor mill.

Due to the draft pick being attached to signing Cruz and the high asking value, it probably caused a lot of teams to be apprehensive to sign him.  It was highly speculated that Cruz could sign a one year deal with the Texas Rangers to re-establish his value.

But Seattle has said they are all in this year, and signed Nelson Cruz to a multi-year deal.

The Mariners have definitely upgraded their offense with the acquisition of Robinson Cano and now Nelson Cruz.  When spring training started for the Mariners, Cano said that he’d love the have Cruz join the team.  But the Mariners remained focused on pitching instead.

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.

The Orioles are taking a getting Cruz, who will use the year to rebuild his value after being suspended 50 games last year.  He’s 33 and has declined a bit over the years.  And as Texas Rangers fans know, his fielding isn’t the best and was in part the reason the Rangers do not have a World Series championship.  With that said, he might not be best answer to help the Mariners finally have a winning season and more runs.  The last time the Mariners had a winning season was in 2009.

Since the Baltimore Orioles signed Nelson Cruz, the Texas Rangers will get their first/top draft pick.  (The first ten draft picks are protected.)

After the signing of Shin-Soo Choo, it was very unlikely that Cruz would return.  Mainly because Cruz was asking for a multi-year deal, and Jon Daniels wasn’t going to give the 33 year old outfielder that length of a contract.

Hopefully fans will remember Cruz for his offensive power and not his involvement with Bio-genesis and game 6 of the World Series.

Last year, Nelson Cruz, hit .266, had an on-base percentage of .327 with 27 home runs and 76 RBI.