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.


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77 Comments on "Poll: Which Team Will Sign Nelson Cruz?"


JacobyWanKenobi
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months ago

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

Zachary Eick
1 year 8 months 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…

Brian
1 year 8 months ago

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

Michael
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months ago

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

Kendall Cooper
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months ago

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

Jonathan Barlock
1 year 8 months 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

Tony Matias
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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.

Ruben_Tomorrow
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months ago

Rangers have a very strong hand in any negotiations with Cruz

1 year 8 months ago

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
1 year 8 months ago

Nope. They gave Choo #17

1 year 8 months ago

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.

1 year 8 months ago

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.

ceraunograph
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months ago

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

jeremy
1 year 8 months 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

Curtis Smith
1 year 8 months ago

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

jeremy
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months ago

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

PhillyYank
1 year 8 months ago

Crud. The Yankees are not an option here.

sourbob
1 year 8 months 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.

jdsmith84
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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.

phillies1102
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months ago

You mean Lohse?

not_brooks
1 year 8 months 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.

Kendall Cooper
1 year 8 months 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.

gammaraze
1 year 8 months 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.

Albin Kampfer
1 year 8 months ago

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

bobbie922
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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.

Jack Miller
1 year 8 months 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

bdiddy7
1 year 8 months ago

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

Jeffy25
1 year 8 months ago

Sarcasm?

bdiddy7
1 year 8 months ago

Yes–without question.

I want nothing to do with Cruz(<<< no sarcasm there.)

Scott Gentilcore
1 year 8 months ago

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

LazerTown
1 year 8 months 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.

EdwinJacksonClosetFan
1 year 8 months ago

3/36 million

Zak A
1 year 8 months ago

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

Zak A
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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
1 year 8 months 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.

Jeffy25
1 year 8 months 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