Cruz’s offensive productivity is obviously intriguing, even with his age, steroid history, defensive deficiencies and lack of durability. Therefore, why hasn’t he been offered a multi-year deal when old guys and formerly suspended players have been signed?
It is possible that the issues have already been mentioned. Namely…age, steroids, defensive deficiencies and lack of durability. Sound familiar? Not a good combination in the current marketplace.
In addition, you have to be careful with power numbers. The Mariners proved in 2012 that home runs are overrated if you can’t get on base. Cruz has a lifetime batting average of .268 and he has not hit over .266 in four of the last five seasons. The Mariners needs a contact guy, not a power hitter.
Because of this, the Mariners should pursue Nelson Cruz (with apologies to Bob Barker) only if the price is right.
What is that price? There are rumors out there that Cruz was (is) asking for a five-year, $75 million contract. Given the fact that he remains on the market, this is obviously not a palatable deal.
This may be a stretch, but I would not be shocked if Cruz ended up with a one- or two-year deal when all is said and done. Something in the neighborhood of one-year, $12 million or two-year, $20 million.
That said, there may be a team out there that is willing to give four or five years and spend upwards of $50 million. In baseball, there always seems to be at least one franchise that is willing to overpay for a player like Cruz. After all, the Mariners just overpaid for Robinson Cano.
Someone will probably be willing to give Cruz a three-year deal. It just shouldn’t be the Mariners.
Nelson Cruz might be a nice bat to protect Cano. However, the Mariners should wait. And then wait some more. Wait for Cruz to call in the month of February.
If some other team signs Cruz in the meantime, so be it. There are other options that are far cheaper and possibly even more productive in the long run.