AL West Notes: Cruz, Feliz, Blanton, Astros

Nelson Cruz's market seems almost non-existent in the eyes of Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan, who goes through every team in baseball to try and find a home for the outfielder.  Twenty-nine teams are "stretches" or "not a fit," while only the Orioles are a "decent" candidate, and Kendrys Morales might be a better fit for them.  A return to the Rangers would be a "stretch," and GM Jon Daniels recently said that he expects Cruz to sign elsewhere now that Shin-Soo Choo is in the fold.  MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth also took a crack at examining Cruz's market a few days ago — a reader poll pegged the Mariners as the best contender to sign Cruz, though they garnered just over 23% of the vote. 

Here's the latest from around the AL West…

  • Neftali Feliz wants to be a reliever for the rest of his career and he's intent on regaining his old job as the Rangers' closer, the righty tells's T.R. Sullivan via a translator.  Feliz said he is "finally" recovered from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for most of 2012 and 2013, cutting short his stint in the Texas rotation at the start of the 2012 season.  Feliz has pitched well out of the bullpen in the Dominican Winter League and he'll compete with Joakim Soria and Tanner Scheppers for the closer's job in 2014.
  • The Angels will bring Joe Blanton to Spring Training and if they can't find a trade for the veteran hurler,'s Alden Gonzalez opines (via Twitter), Blanton will simply be released.  Blanton posted a career-worst 6.04 ERA in 2013, though the advanced metrics (3.84 xFIP, 3.92 SIERA) indicate that ERA was inflated thanks to an ungainly 19.1% home run rate and a .346 BABIP.  The Halos would eat $8.5MM if they released Blanton — his $7.5MM salary for 2014 and the $1MM buyout of his $8MM 2015 option.
  • Gonzalez also tweets that he expects the Angels to sign another free agent pitcher to their rotation.
  • Since the Astros have been in full-on rebuilding mode for virtually all of GM Jeff Luhnow's tenure, some player agents told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle this offseason that they were simply weren't that familiar with Luhnow.  “All of our current players have representatives, and I’ve dealt with a lot of the agents and agencies through the draft over the years…But yeah, it’s a different position that we’re in this year relative to last year. Remember, in 2011, I was hired in December, and at that point things were fairly far along and there was not a lot of flexibility of doing much except for trades we did," Luhnow said.  "To a certain extent, having the position flexibility and financial flexibility to participate in the free-agent market has been a new experience for me as a general manager, and a good one.” 
  • With all the big moves in the AL West this offseason, Drellich opines that some of the would-be contenders in the division could have already peaked in a couple of seasons' time, when the Astros will be ready to step up and contend themselves.
  • In AL West news from earlier today, Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson found a new agent and we got some updates on Mark Mulder's contract with the Angels.

34 Responses to AL West Notes: Cruz, Feliz, Blanton, Astros Leave a Reply

  1. Tyler 1 year ago

    Cruz mad he didn’t accept the Mariners 5/75. He’s not gonna get anything close to that now.

    • skrockij89 1 year ago

      He’ll be lucky to get half of that.

      • Edgar4evar 1 year ago

        That was a rumor, denied by the M’s. The Mariners front office is unlikely to leak something like that, but Cruz’ agent has every reason to do so. At this point Cruz is unlikely to outproduce any of the options the Mariners currently have, if you take defense into account. With the exception of hitting left-handers well, he doesn’t actually bring much to the table from the M’s perspective. He’s mostly a product of the Ballpark and Safeco will stifle his power. I really don’t want him.

        • Tyler 1 year ago

          You’re joking if you think Cruz wouldn’t out produce any of the Mariners OFs. He would e better than them all. And his power might take a light hit but he will still hit 25+. Average might drop to around .260. If they can get him for 7-8 mil a year for about 3 years it would be worth it.

          • Stevil 1 year ago

            A Cruz without PED’s in a pitcher-friendly stadium where he has a career line of .238/.299/.442 with 8 HR’s in 182 PA’s?

            I’d feel better about the production from Guti, Ackley, and Saunders given their salaries. All three looked good in the second half last season, so at least there’s something positive rollin’.

            If the M’s are going to acquire another outfielder, it should be a center fielder who offers solid defense. Cruz doesn’t fit the bill.

          • Marinersforever71 1 year ago

            Jose Batista w/ Brett Cecil from the Jays or Dominic Brown w/ Cliff Lee & Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies would be a logical move as Brown or Batista can provide solid offense/defense.

          • Edgar4evar 1 year ago

            Since I don’t care that much about HR totals and batting average, I’m totally not joking. The projections for Ackley, Saunders and Almonte are all similar to those for Cruz when you include things like OBP and defense. There is no way I would spend all that money and the draft pick for the small marginal difference. If the M’s want to upgrade (and they should) they should be looking to deal for an excellent defensive center fielder who hits well against lefties.

    • KJ4realz 1 year ago

      That was an offer? How could he want more than that? 17 mil a year is a ridiculous overpay for Cruz. Holy hell

      • KJ4realz 1 year ago

        15 mil is still an overpay… Sorry I’m mathematically inept at the moment

        • txftw 1 year ago

          As long as you know 5/75 is an overpay it’s ok :)

    • jp1198 1 year ago

      At this point, he’s probably upset at not taking the QO. No smart team will sign him now, and he was lucky to even get that offer. Doubly upset for not taking it.

  2. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    Blanton is utterly untradable. Even if some crazy GMm wanted him Why would they trade for him when they can just wait for the Angels to release him and sign him to minor league deal

    • RyanWKrol 1 year ago

      The Yankees took Vernon Wells. The Mets took Gary Matthews. The Jays took Jeff Mathis. The Royals took Ervin Santana. I’m sure a team out there will take Blanton. They don’t have to give up anything significant and the Angels probably would still eat up a large portion of his salary. Either that or a release is probably 50/50.

      • KINGMOJO 1 year ago

        Why can’t any team take Blanton and his contract straight up ala Alex rios and white sox trade

        • RyanWKrol 1 year ago

          That’s always a possibility. I was just going by the more common pattern. But it could happen. That’s an additional $8.5 million the Angels can free up. With that, I think from all their non-tenders and trades, they would’ve freed up close to $40 million. That of course isn’t factoring in the additions of Freese, Smith, etc.

        • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

          Dream on! No one is taking on Blanton’s salary. Alex Rios was actually productive before he was traded Blanton is worthless at this point.

    • Fred McCarthy 1 year ago

      cause it guarantees they get him? comon man use your brain for a second

    • zurr en arrh 1 year ago

      Somehow I can honestly believe we can sell Blanton to Ruben Amaro, problem is he’ll want to give us Jonathan Papelbon to us

  3. MB923 1 year ago

    Good luck on trading Blanton

  4. MadmanTX 1 year ago

    Cruz will be this Year’s Kyle Lohse: no team wants him on his terms or to give up their draft pick for him.

    • txftw 1 year ago

      So he must end up signing with the Brewers then

    • LoneTXRanger 1 year ago

      If the market for Cruz remains not there, Rangers should offer a terrible contract. He’s worth it at a dirt cheap price.

  5. phillies1102 1 year ago

    Nothing says throwing away $15 million for a fine player such as Joe Blanton. Congratulations, Halos, you have officially made one of the worst all time free agent deals. It’s not often an expensive player plays below replacement level.

    • RyanWKrol 1 year ago

      Looks like this is coming from a Phillies fan. Every team has their dead weight. It’s part of the game.

      • phillies1102 1 year ago

        The difference is, our contractual obligations still provide value, even if its not up to their contract level. But in terms of hindering a team, I think he belongs in the same class as Chone Figgins and Jason Bay

        • nepp 1 year ago

          Ryan Howard’s 5 year extension so far:
          $40 million ($25 M AAV per year though) paid out for -0.7 fWAR.

  6. nepp 1 year ago

    Blanton is a HR machine…and it skews his FIP/xFIP as a result. The last time he actually outperformed those metrics was 2009. He’s simply not a good pitcher anymore.

  7. bjsguess 1 year ago

    They shouldn’t dump Blanton unless he proves absolutely awful. Even a return to 2012 production would more than justify a roster spot. I have high hopes for Skaggs and Santiago but recognize that either might not make it through the season. Having a 5th starter that resembled the 2012 Joe Blanton isn’t the worst thing in the world.

    • RyanWKrol 1 year ago

      I doubt they get the same historically bad production from him, especially if they’re taking away his keys to the rotation. I can see him being a better long reliever/middle reliever. That’s probably the role he should’ve been used for this whole time (over his entire career).

  8. burnboll 1 year ago

    Blanton seems like a likely pick up for Ruben Amaro.

  9. talcha32 1 year ago

    Good to hear about Feliz. He could make a stud closer if he’s determined.

    Also, the Cruz news is interesting. If it gets bad enough, I wonder if JD offers Cruz a 1 year deal to be our DH. Our lineup, plus Cruz, would be unbelievable.

  10. elkaba 1 year ago

    Holy cow twig. This is amazing!

  11. rangernva 1 year ago

    Odds of us bringing him back to DH and sending Moreland to Japan?

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