Nelson Cruz, signed through 2018
Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz just hit his 300th career home run Friday night against Oakland, so moving him this season at the deadline would be a much-ballyhooed and brutal move by Dipoto. He appears to have the most value of any Mariners player signed through 2018 and no further, however.
I trust Dipoto to ask for a huge haul of prospects for the slugger, who has hit at least 40 home runs for three consecutive seasons. Over a third of his 300 home runs (103) have come in the last two-and-half seasons with the Mariners, and despite his advancing age due to his late-career bloom 37, Cruz shows no signs of slowing down.
Imagine if a team like Houston approaches the Mariners with two or three impact players from their system in return for Cruz to put their mashing lineup over the top. Would Dipoto rip our hearts out and pull the trigger? Maybe, if he thought the young players he brings in will develop into future Cruzes. Dipoto has already made good calls by plucking both Segura and Mitch Haniger from Arizona last offseason, maybe he pulls off another blockbuster that nets Seattle a profit.
If Cruz is made available, the prices will be driven high by teams looking for a bat like Cruz’s, which any team can use in their playoff chase. He could be the hottest name at the Trade Deadline in Major League Baseball this summer.