Orioles Close To Deal With Nelson Cruz

9:11am: Cruz and the Orioles have mostly been discussing the possibility of a one-year deal, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets.

7:02am: The Orioles are close to a deal with slugger Nelson Cruz, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Heyman adds, "There are still a couple issues to be resolved, according to sources, though a deal looks extremely likely."

Cruz was one of 13 players to receive and turn down a one-year, $14.1MM qualifying offer in November.  Signing such a player requires the forfeiture of a draft pick, which contributed to slow markets for Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez, and the still-unsigned Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew, and Kendrys Morales.  The Orioles signed Jimenez on Monday to a four-year, $50MM contract, a franchise record for a pitcher.  The O's sacrificed the 17th overall pick in the June draft to do so.  At the trade deadline last year, the Orioles dealt their Competitive Balance Lottery Round A pick to the Astros in the Bud Norris deal, currently #33 overall.  That means their next available pick to sacrifice for a qualifying offer free agent is #52, so the penalty to sign Cruz is less pronounced.  The Rangers will receive a supplemental first round pick for their loss.

On Friday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the Orioles were in talks with both Morales and Cruz, and a deal with one could happen soon.  In Cruz, they'll get a 33-year-old right-handed bat who hit .266/.327/.506 with 27 home runs in 456 plate appearances in 2013.  The overall line is reflective of Cruz's recent body of work: good power, not too many walks.  His home run total ranked second among free agents, even though he was suspended 50 games for a connection to Biogenesis.  Cruz explained in an August statement that a gastrointestinal infection led to "an error in judgment that I deeply regret" weeks before he was to report in spring training 2012.  It appears that the draft pick attached to Cruz affected his market more than the 2013 suspension, with Jhonny Peralta scoring a $53MM contract in November after serving an in-season Biogenesis suspension.

For the Orioles, Cruz could play both left field and designated hitter, as they're not locked into an established or expensive player at either position.  Cruz has played 384 2/3 innings in left in his career, though his defense is generally considered below-average.

Back in November, before the plight of certain qualifying offer free agents was fully established, MLBTR's Steve Adams predicted a three-year, $39MM contract for Cruz.  He's represented by Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group.

Clearly, the Orioles signing Cruz would remove a suitor for Morales.  According to Heyman, Morales has been working out for a month at the Boras Sports Training Institute on the campus of St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens.  Morales could still return to the Mariners, and Boras has pitched him as a potential first baseman for the Pirates.

47 Responses to Orioles Close To Deal With Nelson Cruz Leave a Reply

  1. PhilliesFan28 1 year ago

    I wanted him to go to the Mariners but this seems like a good fit also

    • Teufelshunde4 1 year ago

      Gotta wonder what Boras is telling Morales and Drew at this point.. Morales should have taken the QO from the start.

      They should tweak the QOers… So that a player that has spent at least two seasons with the club can be tendered a QO.. No more pillow contracts turning into stalled markets for players just so the team can pick up a free draft pick for a player they dont want anymore. Also if a player takes a QO the team cannot use it again the next season on same player

      • Ruthlessly Absurd 1 year ago

        I don’t think Morales shows that the system needs to be tweaked. Morales, as a rational actor, should have taken 14.1 million dollars.

      • docmilo5 1 year ago

        What needs to happen is more guys need to take the QO’s and eventually teams will hesitate to offer them.

  2. Holy Smokes 1 year ago

    Why not. To play in the AL East ya gotta beef the lineup if your pitching is mediocre. I bet Chris Davis is lickin his chops. Jones and Cruz around him?

  3. I saw a couple of reports that both the M’s and O’s rated Morales as the better hitter of the two. I wonder if this means Morales is close to a deal with the M’s or perhaps someone else. Man, now this division is just going to be as hard to watch as it always is…

    You have all the moves we made this year, the Red Sox are coming off a WS with virtually the same team, the Rays added some key bullpen pieces with a full year of Will Myers, the O’s have FINALLY added some starting pitching and another power bat…and the Blue Jays…yea. Tough division!

    • PhilliesFan28 1 year ago

      Nothing big but to windless down your worries the Red Sox lost Salty and possibly Drew

      • Oh there is no doubt they lost a few key pieces in Ellsbury, Drew and Salty. Although Drew could still find his way back. I just know to never doubt the Red Sox ability to come back from any sort of loss.

        • Salty isn’t a key piece. Key pieces don’t get benched in the World Series for backup catchers. Ellsbury will hurt and Drew might depending on whether or not Middlebrooks can play a serviceable 3B. Not too worried about Boegarts at SS.

      • Tom_McAllister 1 year ago

        Don’t forget Ellsbury!

      • orangeoctober 1 year ago

        and more importantly ellsbury.

        edit: lol nevermind

  4. GriffeyandSizemore 1 year ago

    1.Nick Markakis RF
    2.Manny Machado 3B
    3.Adam Jones CF
    4.Chris Davis 1B
    5.Nelson Cruz LF/DH
    6.Matt Wieters C
    7.JJ Hardy SS
    8.Delmon Young/ David Lough LF/DH
    9.Ryan Flaherty/ Jemile Weeks/ Jonathan Schoop 2B

    A strong lineup and very strong defense(especially if Lough is in left).

    • GoRav114 1 year ago

      I think john flaherty is like 50. Ryan Flaherty

    • Ruthlessly Absurd 1 year ago

      Heh. Schoop.

    • Andrew Ochs 1 year ago

      I would rather have Lough and Cruz both as full time LF and DH respectively. I really hope Buck won’t use Cruz as the everyday LF, Lough as a 4th outfielder, and have Markakis hit 3rd

      • GriffeyandSizemore 1 year ago

        Lough should be in left against righties and Cruz DH. They will probably use Delmon Young at DH against lefties which he has been productive against his whole career. Then you are Stuck with Cruz in left at that point.

    • Perry Jones 1 year ago

      finally a #5 hitter. You know if it was Weiters, after Davis’ year they would pitch around him. I still dont love Markakis as a lead-off though but its still a great lineup

  5. GoRav114 1 year ago

    Nooooo. Morales is the best hitter for this O’s team.

    • Shawn Baublitz 1 year ago

      Agreed. But Buck does like his flexibility in his team. Having a strictly DH player doesn’t fit his profile.

      • orangeoctober 1 year ago

        he can play 1B. at least as well as cruz plays OF.

        • Harrison 1 year ago

          They’re both DHs. Neither one should own a glove.

        • Karkat 1 year ago

          Cruz can do an impression of an outfielder.

  6. orangeoctober 1 year ago

    I would rather have morales. with the short right porch at the flag court in camden yards, he would smack 30 home runs. maybe they want cruz if they dont bring markakis back next year via extension or something, cruz could play RF.

  7. Runtime 1 year ago


  8. Harrison 1 year ago

    Please God no. Not Cruz.

    I don’t ask you for much, but please God, just this once, hook a brother up.

  9. Drew Brees 1 year ago

    David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez approve of this signing

  10. Elsalvaje 1 year ago

    Someone can tell me why Henry Urrutia is not getting more chances??? That guy is a true hitter. And btw i rather Morales over Cruz, Kendry can play 1b better than Cruz RF and Morales bat is really good providing power and ave from both sides of the dish.

    • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

      He shows potential but has to prove he can hit more than singles to move up the chart. While he was making good contact last year during his call-up, the majority were slap hits to the hole between SS and 3B. Rarely did he get out in front of a pitch and yank it down the line or hit to the alleys. I’m thinking that playing an almost complete season in Norfolk will prepare him to take over for Cruz in ’15. He also needs to learn to run the bases better — didn’t look good last year.

  11. Lord of the Fries 1 year ago

    I’ve seen a lot of Mets fans who wanted them to sign Cruz, but I was entirely against it. I’m glad that he’s headed elsewhere.

  12. Karkat 1 year ago

    If I’m an O’s fan I wanna see Morales, not Cruz, since I think the former is a better hitter, a switch hitter, slightly more of a power threat, and not saddled with PED troubles. But Cruz still should bring the Baltimore lineup from “solid” to “good”

    • Harrison 1 year ago

      I’m an O’s fan and I want neither of ’em. They’re both significantly over-rated, and neither is an impact talent. I’d much rather have the second round pick.

      • Karkat 1 year ago

        Overrated, sure, but they still improve your lineup significantly with their power alone.

      • Elsalvaje 1 year ago

        Kendry overrated??? Are u kidding?? He’s one of the most underrated players in the MLB. He’s an MVP calibre in fact has been in the top 5.

        • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

          Slow down there, hombre. Nobody in baseball is going to use the phrase “MVP caliber” with “Kendry Morales” in the same sentence. He’s a nice hitter who can provide fairly predictable stats. But he can’t really take the field without being a defensive liability. He also pends more time behind in the count than ahead and hasn’t learned how to work around that or get better at it.

          He’s a nice hitter who I would rather have over Cruz for a multiple year contract, but since the O’s made it a 1-year deal Cruz will do fine.

  13. SanFranPanda 1 year ago

    Hard to see the Blue Jays as a team better than others in the AL East..

    • Andrew Ochs 1 year ago

      This has been the case since the end of the season.

  14. YankeeFan™ 1 year ago

    if its one year thats a steal

  15. GD 1 year ago

    I bet it’s a 1-year deal and there’s contract language preventing Orioles from offering him a QO next offseason.

    • GD 1 year ago

      Going to the O’s will keep his HRs high for a year and get him back out in FA without the QO next year. You can bet him and his agent will stipulate no 2014 QO. I can’t remember who it was last year, but one player/agent got this in his contract to prevent the team from offering a QO.

      • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

        Again, it’s not happening. The most recent CBA expressly forbids it and monster penalties/punishments are on the table if either side attempts to break this aspect of the CBA.

    • monroe_says 1 year ago

      Language in contracts preventing QOs is no longer permitted.

  16. TD272 1 year ago

    Not a fan of signing Cruz – much rather have Morales.

    • GD 1 year ago

      I think Morales will end up now back in Seattle

      • TD272 1 year ago

        I agree – not too many other options unless Boras can manage to convince the Pirates he can play 1B full-time.

  17. MadmanTX 1 year ago

    You really don’t want Cruz to do much besides DH these days.

  18. GD 1 year ago

    O’s need a LF and DH. So maybe they decide to sign Cruz for LF, and Morales for DH now. That would be interesting adding about 60 HRs to their lineup at the start of ST

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