Poll: Which Team Will Sign Nelson Cruz?

2013 is about to become 2014, and free agent slugger Nelson Cruz still hasn't found a home. Today, Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he does not expect Cruz to return to his club. Cruz's reported desire for a $75MM contract could be an impediment for many teams. With that in mind, let's look at Cruz's market.

Rangers. There doesn't seem to be a fit here, but it's worth noting that Daniels didn't completely rule out the possibility of re-signing Cruz, despite adding Shin-Soo Choo.

Mariners. A report two weeks ago indicated the Mariners still had interest in Cruz despite having already acquired Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. In light of a more recent report that the Mariners were approaching their payroll limit, one might think that another defensively-challenged corner player, particularly an expensive one, might be a luxury the Mariners could do without. But the Mariners have seemed unusually interested in such players in recent years.

Orioles. The Orioles have made contact with Cruz's agent, but there have been few indications that negotiations have progressed much. The O's would have to forfeit the No. 17 overall pick in next year's draft to sign Cruz, who declined the Rangers' qualifying offer, and they might not want to. Nonetheless, there's plenty of space for Cruz in Baltimore's lineup.

Rockies. Colorado has had some interest in Cruz, although it does not appear to be serious.

Royals. Kansas City tried to sign Carlos Beltran. They could still look to Cruz as a possible replacement, particularly if they're able to trade Billy Butler. That seems unlikely now, however, with the signing of Omar Infante taking up much of the money they had available.

Those are that teams that have been most closely connected to Cruz in the past month. Cruz would be a tricky fit with many NL teams, due to his defensive limitations, and many of them don't have an obvious spot for Cruz to play anyway. One team, the Pirates, that would make at least superficial sense for Cruz has ruled out signing him. Many remaining AL teams either appear to be mostly done making moves (Indians), don't want to lose the draft pick (Twins), don't generally make huge free-agent splashes (Athletics, Rays) or wouldn't be great fits for Cruz (Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Blue Jays).

Here are a few possibilities that are more speculative:

Tigers. Cruz would be a good fit in Detroit's lineup, which currently has Andy Dirks and Rajai Davis in left field and Victor Martinez as DH. The Tigers just signed Davis and therefore might not be likely to add another outfielder, but Davis would also be helpful in a reserve role. The Tigers' seeming disinterest in re-signing Jhonny Peralta, who was suspended last year for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, might also suggest a lack of interest in Cruz, who was also implicated. That might be a red herring, however, since Jose Iglesias' emergence was certainly a factor in Peralta's departure.

Astros. Houston could use help at the corner spots and DH and was connected to Choo, but they would likely be reluctant to part with a draft pick to sign Cruz, and would probably only be interested if he were a bargain.

Reds. The Reds tried to trade Brandon Phillips for Brett Gardner, and they showed interest in Carlos Beltran, indicating that they aren't completely satisfied with their outfield in the wake of Choo's departure. That they never appeared to be serious players for Choo and that they've tried, unsuccessfully, to clear Phillips' salary might indicate that they won't be able and/or willing to spend on Cruz, however.

Cubs. The Cubs should have money to spend and don't have much outfield talent (at least not currently in the big leagues), but as with the Astros, draft pick forfeiture could be an issue, and it doesn't seem like them to sign an expensive, win-now player like Cruz in the midst of a rebuilding project.

77 Responses to Poll: Which Team Will Sign Nelson Cruz? Leave a Reply

  1. JacobyWanKenobi 2 years ago

    I voted Detroit. I think they could use another bat, and with Prince gone they have some mobility in terms of DH and positional rotations.

    • Stuart Brown 2 years ago

      How so? Martinez was/is their primary DH, not Fielder. Martinez played 119 innings in the field in 2013 and 271 innings in 2011. 14 and 32 games, respectively.

    • EightMileCats 2 years ago

      Vmart has to DH mostly. And the Tigers would need a LH(Which Cruz isn’t) bat to play LF(which Cruz shouldn’t.

      Not to mention, all signs point to Detroit being at or near their spending limit

    • TFF17 2 years ago

      Thought their intention was to move Cabrera back to 1B and use Castellanos at 3B?

    • Zachary Eick 2 years ago

      DD, the Tigers GM, has come out and basically said the Joba signing is the last move of the offseason (“not aggressively pursuing” any players”). Detroit won’t be the team that lands Nelson…

  2. Brian 2 years ago

    he ain’t worth it … waste of money on a juicer who’ll never earn it

    • Michael 2 years ago

      That’s why my thought is to offer Cruz one year and an option. See what he can do “clean” in 2014 and, if he performs well, kick in the option year. I just get jittery about guys like this. How many of his HRs, etc. came without “help”?

      • TFF17 2 years ago

        Problem with that is the draft compensation. Otherwise I could see somebody wanting him at one year and $10M or so.

        • Kendall Cooper 2 years ago

          He turned down the qualifying offer, which is greater than 1 year for 10 million. I doubt he would even consider that offer.

          • TFF17 2 years ago

            I know, and perhaps he will find somebody to give him $75M? But he is already a liability in the field, and the pay scale at DH doesn’t reach that high. I wish him the best, just don’t want to see my team pay that price.

          • Kendall Cooper 2 years ago

            I wasn’t saying he was going to get the $75M, I was just saying he wouldn’t take $10M on a one year deal. I would give him more than Beltran simply due to age, but I wouldn’t touch the $75M he wants.

          • TFF17 2 years ago

            I wouldn’t go past three years on Cruz, as the projections get ugly very quickly. But yeah, I could imagine $50M/3yrs if he can find the right fit. Do any teams need him at that price?

          • TFF17 2 years ago

            Beltran got just $45M, comes with fewer PED questions, and in my opinion is the better player. Maybe $10M is a lowball offer, but no more ridiculous than what he is asking.

          • philly_435 2 years ago

            Keep in mind that he turned that offer down while there was a much bigger market

    • Jonathan Barlock 2 years ago

      I dont want my Mariners to get him unless its a short term deal, even then the Ms will either have a worse OF or more of a DH jam

  3. Tony Matias 2 years ago

    Did people vote Mariners because they felt Cruz should go there, or because Jack Z. seems to only bring in the same player over and over again?

    BTW.. I voted KC

    • trenigro 2 years ago

      I’d say its more because the M’s still need another OF and right handed hitter. At his current asking price, it would be a huge mistake but I wouldn’t mind bringing him in on a 2-3 year deal (NOT at $15M per year). Smoak needs to be traded though so that Morrison/Hart can play 1B/DH. I’m sure someone will sign him for more than that so hopefully its not the M’s.

    • bravesrule384 2 years ago

      I voted for KC too, shony. The Royals are the team I grew up rootin for, during the 80’s with the likes of George Brett, Frank White, Dan Quisenberry, etc. Cruz would be a very nice addition to that lineup. The Royals are right there, on the cusp of being a contender, not a pretender.

  4. Ruben_Tomorrow 2 years ago

    Does anyone know if he enjoyed being in Texas while playing for the Rangers? The state has its perks and Carlos Lee comes to mind in some ways when I think of Nelson Cruz. I could see him going to Houston even though I was thinking Baltimore could be a destination.

    • MadmanTX 2 years ago

      I think Cruz wants to come back to Texas, but not on a 2 year deal. I don’t blame him, but you can’t blame the Rangers or other teams of being cautious of signing him to a 4 year deal. That being said as a Rangers fan, I see him landing in Seattle because they need to go all in to get some offense and might be willing to give Cruz 3 yrs plus an option.

      • burnboll 2 years ago

        Rangers have a very strong hand in any negotiations with Cruz

        • I agree with you…

          The problem is that he’s tied to draft pick compensation. The Rangers lost a draft pick by signing Choo and I know JD would love nothing more than to get one back for Nelly. JD hasn’t ruled out signing Cruz, but unless he settles for a 1 or 2 year deal, I don’t think he’ll be coming back to the Rangers…which as you said, gives them a strong hand in negotiations.

          If he really wants to come back, which I think he does, then he’ll have to change his demands…which I think he will have to do anyway…no matter where he signs. The longer he remains a FA, the better the odds he re-signs with the Rangers…IMO.

      • Ron Loreski 2 years ago

        Nope. They gave Choo #17

        • Jersey numbers don’t necessarily mean anything. Guys buy out other guys to get jersey numbers all the time. As of the signing, Cruz was not on the roster, therefore #17 was available.

    • I think Cruz loves it in Texas. He’s a low key/mild mannered type guy and that blends in well here…plus who doesn’t like no state income tax.

      Funny thing is, He was traded from the Brewers to the Rangers as part of the Carlos Lee trade.

  5. ceraunograph 2 years ago

    Not that I think it’s realistic at all but if I ran the Mets I’d sign him to play first base. He shouldn’t be an outfielder much longer anyway, and will come cheaper than any first baseman with comparable power would.

    • vigouge 2 years ago

      He’s a waste of money given that the Mets can get near the same level of production with a platoon.

  6. meep 2 years ago

    the price tag he put on himself and the draft pick is what killing him. he will sign but i wonder who going to be willing to lose a pick. i think astros and cubs should stay away and just keep rebuilding. no need to throw away a pick

    • guccci7383 2 years ago

      well the stros and cubs do have 1st round protected picks. maybe hes worth the lost of a 2nd rounder

      • meep 2 years ago

        hmm well that change things, but would cruz want to be on a rebuilding team. he already 33 so if i was him ill sign for cheap just to get on a contending team

        • alphabet_soup5 2 years ago

          If he really cared about playing for a contender, he would’ve appealed his suspension last year and kept playing for the Rangers.

  7. PhillyYank 2 years ago

    Crud. The Yankees are not an option here.

  8. sourbob 2 years ago

    “The Cubs… don’t have much outfield talent” at the the major league level…

    Fixed that for you. With Bryant, Almora, and Soler all projecting as stars within the next two years, they still may be disinclined to sign Cruz if, by the time they’re ready to contend, they may have a variety of better, cheaper options anyway. And giving up a draft pick *really* doesn’t sound like Chicago.

    • Charlie Wilmoth 2 years ago

      Good point.

    • jdsmith84 2 years ago

      Agreed. Cubs’ top prospects are also all right-handed and Cruz will be 35-36 by the time they’re ready to contend. I think they sign someone like Gardner or Rasmus next offseason.

    • John Donovan 2 years ago

      Yeah and Bryant, Almora, and Soler just COULDN’T bust. Seriously, the Cubs will be lucky if 1 of their big four becomes a star. Another one will probably be a solid MLB starter, one will be a utility/backup guy, and one will probably severely bust. I think that is being extremely generous.

      At least Cruz is a proven talent that could net some victories for a team that seems to have given up for the next 2 years.

  9. phillies1102 2 years ago

    The real question is where Kendrys Morales will sign. NL teams will be extremely reluctant to sign a DH primary hitter, and its not like any team at all has a “need” at DH, especially with older free agents and guys like Cruz available. Kendrys will be this year’s Bourn for sure.

    • Kendall Cooper 2 years ago

      You mean Lohse?

    • not_brooks 2 years ago

      The Orioles have “need” at DH.

      At this point, their starting DH would be Steve Pearce, who has a lifetime .613 OPS vs. right handed pitching.

  10. Kendall Cooper 2 years ago

    How are there 250 votes for the Rangers? The Rangers have already added Choo and brought in Michael Choice in hopes that he can play the other corner outfield spot once Rios leaves…signing Cruz would mean that the Rangers gave up someone that would have been an excellent 4th outfielder for nothing. I don’t see it.

    • Daniel Franklin 2 years ago

      If the Rangers sign Nelson Cruz, it will be to be the primary DH. Cruz would have no effect on their plans for Michael Choice, unless they are planning on DH-ing Choice to begin with.

  11. Albin Kampfer 2 years ago

    Just before Xmas, there was a report he was near a deal with Seatte.

  12. bobbie922 2 years ago

    I could see the Orioles picking him up. They need a DH, so it’ll be interesting to see if they value an offensive upgrade more than their draft pick. If they could get him on either a 1 or 2 year deal it would be a solid pickup for them, but 3+ years I think would be an overpay in years for any team.

    • wileydsp 2 years ago

      The O’s value defense to a great deal. There’s no way they want him as an everyday position player. He also isn’t that great of a fit for the team they are trying to build. He is a 1 Dimensional player who most likely won’t age well at all considering his only tool is power. The O’s need to find a way to get guys on base, and do the little things that win games. We hit tons of home runs, but we’ve seen how that doesn’t correlate to wins. Add in giving up a draft pick, and that’s a no go from the O’s. However, I could see Morales ending up with the O’s. I would let the draft pick go for him.

  13. Jack Miller 2 years ago

    Feel like Colorado would be interested in an outfield bat after trading Fowler, and Cruz could fill in nicely in left field. An outfield of Cruz, Cuddy, and Car-Go would be scary

  14. bdiddy7 2 years ago

    I’m disappointed. No option for Yanks? C’mun…we could always use another outfielder.

  15. Scott Gentilcore 2 years ago

    Cruz ain’t going back to the Rangers. They gave Choo Cruz’s number. Forgetaboutit!

  16. LazerTown 2 years ago

    Cheeriest article all day. I am so happy that the Yankees weren’t listed. I would want nothing to do with him. Players that don’t bring defense, obp, and whose power consists of 25 hr in arlington are pretty bad by my standards.

  17. EdwinJacksonClosetFan 2 years ago

    3/36 million

  18. Zak A 2 years ago

    Rangers still the best option – they need a DH still and they can rotate Choo & Cruz in LF.

  19. Zak A 2 years ago

    I hate the whole draft pick compensation rule b/c it drags out FA on a lot of guys that should already be signed like Drew. Just do sandwich picks in between 1 & 2.

    • Aron 2 years ago

      Such a good idea, no need to make teams forfeit picks to get players especially when the rich teams are the ones that arent deterred by the forfeiture just the teams that rely on the draft. Makes budget conscious teams pass up on more players which I thought was what the MLB was trying to do the opposite of. And if that budget conscious team cant afford to keep their player but give a QO they still get a sandwich pick

    • vigouge 2 years ago

      That’s not the fault of draft pick compensation, baseball has had draft pick compensation for decades. It’s the fault of players not signing. No one put a gun to player’s head and said reject the QO or makes them not sign in November or December.

      Regardless of draft compensation players will wait about as long as they think it will take to get the best deal. If there were no forfeiture of draft pick nothing would change other than players salaries would go up slightly.

      • Zak A 2 years ago

        Well no, you’d have a team like the Phillies w/a mid teen pick last year reluctant to sign any FA b/c of draft compensation. I’m pretty sure most squads between 11-20 are hesitant to give up a pick. But still you have guys each year that deserve a multi-year deal but have been offered a QO. LaRoche, Lohse.

  20. Jeffy25 2 years ago

    He’s not going to be a good signing.

    The only team that could do it and it not suck, are the rangers…and they don’t need him.

    He should have accepted the QO IMO

  21. Jay Sanders 2 years ago

    I can’t see any team give up a non-protected first round pick for Cruz. I think the Rangers are the most likely, they love him there and he’d be a big upgrade over Moreland. I think they can also get him cheap, maybe 2 years $25-30 million. I also think maybe the Mariners, Astros, Cubs, or Marlins.

  22. Tko11 2 years ago


  23. pft2 2 years ago

    I could see Cruz waiting until June 15. No team would lose a pick and by that time some team will be hit by an injury or non-performing bat and will be desperate. Just stay in shape and be ready Cruz.

  24. I voted other cause I think Red Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, Marlins, Rays, Brewers, or Indians could all use someone of his HR power and outfield depth

  25. Tigers72 2 years ago

    I voted Mariners because last year they got Morse, Ibanez and Bay who all have similar skill sets and they lost all of them.

  26. Aron 2 years ago

    Wouldnt be a great fit but not terrible with the Jays either. Could have him as our DH move EE to 1B and put Lind on the bench or use as trade bait. Or if Jose or Melky get injured he could fill in. Especially since the first has had serious injuries the last two years and the latter had hamstring problems and a tumor removed off his spine. The more I think about it the more I’d like Cruz with the Jays, plus our no.9+11 picks are protected I believe. Come on AA do something, pls

  27. Joe McHugh 2 years ago

    The tigers need some added pop in their lineup after trading Prince. I’m sure Cruz won’t be as potent a force in Comerica as he was in Arlington, but the added threat of his bat gives Cabrera some much needed protection. I think Detroit is his best fit with Seattle coming in a close second, but I’m not sure how much draft pick compensation and payroll considerations will come into play with his signing.

  28. jalva323 2 years ago

    OTHER(Rakuten Eagles)

  29. Pawel 2 years ago

    Mariners offered him 4 years/ 70 mill, it’s either he’s crazy thinking he’ll get 100 mill or he simply doesn’t want to play in Seattle. I think he wants to still play in Texas or for like KC or Baltimore

  30. Pawel 2 years ago

    Looks like the D-Backs and Angels are the front-runners for Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez & Ervin Santana and I saw that the D-Backs are looking to sign 2 of the 3 but they are still on Tanaka

  31. tintin3000 2 years ago

    The Phillies!!!!!!!

  32. JaysFan1996 2 years ago

    He’s going to get a Kyle Lohse deal by Early Feb. 3 yrs 32 million + club option of 12 million if he stays healthy for the last season… or a buyout of 1 M

    Probably by a team that needs a big bag and not a big market team
    im guessing O’s Marlins or Rockies

  33. Zachary Eick 2 years ago

    I voted for other… that being Japan/Korea/China/insert foreign country here

  34. Joe Valenti 2 years ago

    I voted Houston. I feel as though they are the best fit positionally. The only issue is draft picks but with a protected pick I can’t see that being a particularly huge issue

  35. BeisbolJunkie 2 years ago

    So if Cruz doesn’t return to the Rangers, does that mean that they won’t sell those BoomStick Hot Dogs at the ballpark in Arlington anymore?

    Like, do they still sell Those IchiRolls @ Safeco?

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