Reactions To The Nelson Cruz Deal

Nelson Cruz signing with the Orioles for $8MM highlights the "absurdities" in Major League Baseball's qualifying offer system, notes ESPN's Keith Law (Insider-only). Law writes that MLB seems uniquely adept at "crafting policies that create unintended consequences." A team that loses its first-round pick as a result of signing a player who had rejected a qualifying offer has a greater incentive to sign a second one, since the penalty for signing the second one is reduced. This policy incentivizes spending sprees by richer teams, at the expense of poorer ones. Here are more reactions to the Nelson Cruz deal.

  • Despite his flaws — his age, defensive defiencies, and unimpressive performance away from Arlington — Cruz is a good deal for the Orioles at $8MM, CBS Sports' Dayn Perry writes. It's only a one-year deal, and Cruz fills an obvious hole in Baltimore's lineup. Perry also notes that Cruz is a good fit in Camden Yards.
  • The Mariners had concerns about Cruz's PED history and with how he would perform at Safeco Field, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. They preferred Kendrys Morales to Cruz, Heyman notes.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he's happy to have Chris Young at $7.25MM rather than Cruz at $8MM, reports Newsday's David Lennon (Twitter links). Alderson says that Cruz "brings power to the table … Doesn’t bring the defense. Doesn’t really have our approach, necessarily."

156 Responses to Reactions To The Nelson Cruz Deal Leave a Reply

  1. James Stevens 1 year ago

    The guy is a PED user and is LUCKY to be allowed to get $8M. Take it and shut it!

    • Korflock 1 year ago

      Didn’t he turn down a 70+ million dollar offer from the Mariners?

      • LazerTown 1 year ago

        I can’t honestly see a $70M offer for him.

      • The_Unnatural 1 year ago

        It was supposedly a 5-year, $75MM contract, and it never happened.

        • Joe Valenti 1 year ago

          That is what he was asking for on the market

  2. The_Artist_Formerly_OFIC 1 year ago

    The O’s are a “rich” team? Tell that to it’s fan base….

    • malkusm 1 year ago

      Ha, we posted the same thing at the same time

  3. malkusm 1 year ago

    “This policy incentivizes spending sprees by richer teams, at the expense of poorer ones.”

    So the O’s are a “richer team” now? Quick, someone tell Peter Angelos!

    • James Stevens 1 year ago

      Waiting for the Orioles to worry they overpaid and renege on their deal like they did with Balfour.

      • Meh Sheep 1 year ago

        The deal was pending physical just like pending inspection on a house. The did not renege. Dr. James Andrews was one of the doctors to fail him and he has a pretty good reputation with athletes.

      • 1oriolefan 1 year ago

        Orioles didn’t renege. Keep an eye on Balfour.

        • James Stevens 1 year ago

          I’ll keep an eye on Balfour. What will you say when he doesn’t miss time this year?

          • OhthePossibilities 1 year ago

            It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t miss time this year. They were open to a one year deal with him, but thought he might have issues sometime between the first and second year. They felt going 2 years/$15MM was essentially going 1 year/$15MM and they weren’t interested in that deal.

      • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

        Is this the same Balfour who trotted out the medical opinion of his wife’s former boss in his attack on the O’s failing him on his physical? Yes, he married the assistant to the Reds team doctor a few years ago and he is one of the esteemed medical men who stepped forward and said Balfour’s MRIs were identical to one’s three years ago. This is the same doctor who didn’t even examine Balfour before going public with his expert opinion.

    • lwayne 1 year ago

      Not what was said. In this case the penalty was less because it was their second FA signing. You can only lose your #1 pick once and after that it is an after the first round sandwich pick.

      • malkusm 1 year ago

        That is what he said. “This policy incentivizes spending sprees by RICHER teams.” It incentivizes spending sprees by any team who’s going to sign any top-tier or mid-tier free agent, not just the richer ones.

  4. The spending spree theory doesn’t really apply. While it’s true that it’s easier to stomach signing a second compensation attached player, it all goes back to the fact that the market for middle tier FA’s wasn’t going to lead to drastic overpays. Draft pick compensation hurt Cruz, but the $75 million demands was what really hurt him.

    • psabella 1 year ago

      Agree. Why don’t these folks ever acknowledge the other factors that lead to sitting on the market too long such as the 4 yr 75 mil demand as you mentioned. In this case I do not see the foul, Cruz did not lose, he got a fair market deal and he can now rebuild his value and try again next year and if he gets another QO he should take it.

    • James Stevens 1 year ago

      And his PED suspension. Teams look at average players who got caught cheating like Melky and what has happened to A-Rod since 2009 and others. Unless there is a glaring need to take that risk, teams want nothing to do with it. Cruz’s numbers ON PEDs were good, not fantastic. No reason to think that wont get worse now.

    • Timothy Wolfe 1 year ago

      What hurt him is he got bad advice just like Morales, to not take the QO. Their agents should be fired

  5. charles 1 year ago

    Now seattle resign morales and trade for a cf.

    • The_Unnatural 1 year ago

      Morales doesn’t like it here. The M’s tried to work out an extension during the season and he declined. The M’s gave him a QO and he declined. If I were Z I wouldn’t take him back even if he begged. He can go play for the Rangers or Pirates for all I care. Trade for an OF and throw Hart at DH to save his knees.

      • Timothy Wolfe 1 year ago

        Yeah, he’s not coming to the buccos. We’d lose a #1 draft pick….we wouldn’t trade a #1 for Morales even if we didn’t have to pay him anything. At least now players are going to realize that teams aren’t going to throw draft picks away, you’d better take the QO. Once players start taking the QO, teams will be more hesitant to offer it if they don’t want to pay it, and some equilibrium in player values comes from that. This issue DOES favor large markets, but here, Baltimore decided losing a draft pick was okay, with only a 8 million price tag. Most large teams with large payrolls can afford to lose the draft pick because they can spend on free agents without any problems. This is the exception rather than the rule, and it will likely cost Baltimore down the line

        • The_Unnatural 1 year ago

          It’s either that or trade for a 1B. It’s all the same, really. You’re out a prospect regardless.

        • mike melusky 1 year ago

          Baltimore guessingly saw that the class for the upcoming draft wasn’t very deep, and figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to offer Cruz a QO to get the extra pick in the (deeper) 2015 amateur draft.

    • Metsfan93 1 year ago

      I think it was you who was discussing Cruz with me. And in light of what he actually got, I do have to say Seattle should’ve pounced.

      • Bonzi77 1 year ago

        He might not have been available to them at that price. On a one year deal, he probably wanted to go somewhere were he can put up some bigger home run numbers and try to get paid next year.

      • MCMLXXVII 1 year ago

        As a Mariners fan, I say god no. I’d rather not watch him be paid $8-10 million for a .700 OPS.

    • PXDX 1 year ago

      Nick Franklin for Marcel Ozuna who says no?

  6. The_Unnatural 1 year ago

    If Cruz was a younger, better player, who didn’t get busted with PEDs, he would have gotten a better contract. The deal seems fair to me.

  7. Kevin Hill 1 year ago

    For a ‘Moneyball;’ type GM, Alderson seems to like to put emphasis on outfield defense for some reason.

    • budgreen 1 year ago

      It must be CY’s shiny .280 OBP last year.

      • Ausome7 1 year ago

        It’s their approach…

      • Metsfan93 1 year ago

        Because players don’t have off years or anything… and they can’t rebound. It’s unheard of. The Mets kept their draft pick (which, at the time of the Cruz signing, would’ve still been their second rounder) and got the better player.

        • paqza 1 year ago

          Third rounder, but the point still stands. 1st pick was protected and the Mets lost their 2nd rounder for Granderson.

          • Metsfan93 1 year ago

            They lost their second rounder after signing CY, so my point stands..

        • TD272 1 year ago

          The better player? The one whose BA and OBP have declined 4 years straight? His defense doesn’t make up for his horrible bat.

          • Metsfan93 1 year ago

            Nelson Cruz had 8.8 fWAR from ’10-’13, 3.9 fWAR from ’11-’13, 2.6 fWAR from ’12-’13 and 1.5 in ’13.
            Chris Young had 10.6 fWAR from ’10-’13, 7.5 fWAR from ’11-’13, 3.0 fWAR from ’12-’13, and 0.5 in ’13, albeit no PED suspension.
            Nelson Cruz had three straight 1.5~ fWAR seasons in the last four while Young has two 4+ fWAR and a 2.5-win season in the last four, plus a down season.
            I’ll take Young. Thank you, Sandy.

    • Joe Valenti 1 year ago

      When the strength of your team is pitching and you have an OF like Citi Field, OF defense becomes very important. While I agree that CY is a better fit for the Mets, I think the Cruz deal definitely makes it an overpay

      • murph180 1 year ago

        I don’t know if is call it an overpay, CY made 11 million last year so he did take a pay-cut, plus Cruz doesn’t play defense and if Young gets back to the Arizona days he’ll provide much better value

        • Joe Valenti 1 year ago

          Just because he was overpaid last year doesn’t make a pay cut any less than an overpay this year. I’d say a majority of the teams would much rather Cruz at $8M than CY at $7.25M. The Mets, with their emphasis on pitching and their stadium, have a unique need for defense which makes CY an asset that Cruz can’t be. CY is a .235/.315/.431 hitter. Not sure how he would ever be a better value

          • Metsfan93 1 year ago

            10.6 fWAR/8.8
            4 year, 3 year, 2 year, 1 year fWAR comp for Young/Cruz. He had a down 2013, but was better in 2012, 2011, and 2010. Give me Young for cheaper and no comp pick kthx

          • Joe Valenti 1 year ago

            Just for simplicity’s sake, I have a tendency to avoid using statistics I don’t totally understand (ie- I don’t know how they are calculated). I understand I am in the minority on this site but at the end of the day I don’t feel like I know what I’m truly arguing and statistics can be very misleading if they aren’t used correctly.

            Using simple statistics and eliminating 2013 (because of CY’s down year and Cruz’ up year) CY has a career line of .239/.318/.437 compared to Cruz’ .268/.328/.494.

            To me that’s enough of an edge to justify an extra 750K and a 2nd round pick if the Mets weren’t a team that was uniquely dependent on OF defense.

            Personally, I’m worried about this lineup. I’ve seen CY first hand in AZ and he just doesn’t seem to be mentally disciplined. Between him and Granderson we are going to see a lot of strikeouts and a lot of rallies die because of their inability to put the ball in play. That’s part of the reason I’m happy with Tejada at SS. 2013 aside, Tejada was very good at getting on base and I think the Mets need that more than anything in this lineup

          • Metsfan93 1 year ago

            Cruz’ home/road splits, PED suspension, draft compensation and defensive “abilities” are all huge negatives and wipe out essentially a 57 points slugging advantage and 10 point OBP edge, to me. Young also peaked higher, and is younger with less chance for the wheels to fall off, ability-wise.

    • PXDX 1 year ago

      OF defense IS the new Moneyball. Oakland has 3 plus-defenders in Reddick, Crisp and Gentry and also Cespedes, who has a cannon for an arm but isn’t great at reads.

    • paqza 1 year ago

      What do you mean by that, exactly?

  8. James Stevens 1 year ago

    Nelson Cruz got more than he deserves. Now if MLB would get real about the punishments they could lessen this problem. I offer:

    1st offense: 1 FULL YEAR suspension (162 games plus playoffs, in case it is mid-year) AND one FULL year of working at league minimum for whatever team he ends up on (team he was on when suspended would get first shot at signing them and if they don’t want to, then he moves through waivers to be pulled at league minimum)

    2nd offense: DONE!

    or if they really want the 3 strike rule the second offense can be 2 year suspension and only being allowed to sign 1 year league minimum deals for the remainder of his career.

    This is an offer that the union would do if they truly wanted to get rid of PED users.
    Will never get them all but this threat would force them to be much more serious about it.

    • Bonzi77 1 year ago

      That’s unnecessarily draconian. Guys do occasionally make mistakes and there are occasionally false positives (though rare). There’s no real way to tell what is an honest mistake and who is willfully cheating, so the rules have to account for both outcomes.

    • PXDX 1 year ago

      That’s too much, I do think that there should be a ceiling for FAs-to-be in terms of contracts/draft pick penalties that should make them more unattractive to teams though.

      Say, max of a 1-year deal, with the loss of a draft pick for any team who wants to sign a guy who was suspended? Peralta should have been penalized for using in a walk year and wasn’t, that needs to end, or else more players will just chance it and have an awesome 3/4 of a year and take the 50 game hit with the inflated numbers in the books like he did.

    • Michael 1 year ago

      Add elimination of any HOF consideration and loss of any potential pension, etc. to the first offense and I’m on board with this. Obviously, the penalties up to this point aren’t working as well as they should.

  9. UltimateYankeeFan 1 year ago

    The Mariners prefer Morales to Cruz according to the above piece. My only question is how many 1st baseman/DH types can the Mariners have on their roster. I have to say the Mariners moves this off season/preseason kind of defy logic in my opinion.

    • James Stevens 1 year ago

      Gonna laugh when Cano’s numbers fall like Beltre’s did when he got to Seattle. Cano was unhappy playing last year when the Yankees were all hurt, imagine when he sees the team he will be on now, only thats how they look when everyone is healthy….

      • The_Unnatural 1 year ago

        If Felix can play all these years with a smile, so can Cano.

        • James Stevens 1 year ago

          Felix stayed in Seattle because he wanted to. Cano went there because no one else offered him close to that same amount of money. Felix clearly doesnt care about winning and that is his prerogative. Cano has seen what it means to win, so I dont think they are the same…

      • Metsfan93 1 year ago

        Yeah, Beltre really failed. He was so awful he only posted 16+ fWAR over the course of the deal and WARed his way to exactly 65 MM worth of value, per fangraphs, while being paid 64 MM. How horrid.

        • PXDX 1 year ago

          Beltre was coming off 48 HR with a 9.7 WAR year when he signed with the M’s, don’t act like Seattle wasn’t expecting him to get close to his LAD numbers. WAR loves his defense but his offense was entirely miserable in Seattle. He was not the superstar he was paid to be when he was the Mariners.

          How crazy is it that he’s going to be in the HOF though? He’s been around FOREVER and has 65 career WAR, probably ending up around 80 when he’s done.

          • The_Unnatural 1 year ago

            That mostly due to Beltre’s wall-scraping home run power. He’s regularly near the top of the list for homers that barely cleared the fence. If anyone would fail at Safeco, it’s Beltre.

      • Lefebvre Believer 1 year ago

        Cano’s numbers won’t fall like Beltre. Safeco is a little more friendly to left handed hitters. It’s the reason they moved the fences in at right and center before last year. Beltre also hits a lot more fly balls than Cano. So overall Cano is a better fit for Safeco than Beltre.

        • James Stevens 1 year ago

          I see Cano getting walked in a way that Barry Bonds was in SF. Cano has no one else in that lineup who is anywhere close to the threat. If i am an opponent, I am giving Cano ZERO to hit. Either he will walk or he will swing at stuff outside the zone.

          • The_Unnatural 1 year ago

            People walked Bonds because was a cancer and nobody wanted him to succeed. Lineup protection has been proven to be a myth.

          • Daniel Franklin 1 year ago

            Right… Bonds was walked because he was a cancer and no one wanted him to succeed… it had nothing to do with him hitting 1 HR every 8.3 ABs (2004). Nothing spells success like a .609 OBP, maybe perhaps his all-time leading single season OPS…

            It’s pretty sad when half of your RBIs come from you crossing home plate on your HRs… Bonds did that twice, and was pretty close several other times.

          • Lefebvre Believer 1 year ago

            Cano will probably get pitched to because he’s not the HR threat Barry was, and there’s probably not going to be people on base ahead of him very often. The Ms were near the bottom of the league in OBP last year and even with some growth from their youngsters it’s probably not going to help that much. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cano’s average actually go up, with pitchers feeling quite comfortable pitching to Cano.

  10. OaklandFan22 1 year ago

    HAHA, rather have Chris Young at 7.25 than Cruz at 8. That is one of the funniest things I have ever heard.

    • Drew Brees 1 year ago

      Exactly. One has all offense, no defense. The other has all defense no offense. Same player just reversed.

      • Wek 1 year ago

        Cruz is not an offensive wizard either.

      • Dylan 1 year ago

        Cruz offensive game is as questionable as his defensive game.

        • Bonzi77 1 year ago

          I’d love to see you back that statement up.

          • Dylan 1 year ago

            He’s an all or nothing hitter; doesn’t walk. His K:BB ratio is horrible. He swings at over 30% out of the zone, only makes contact about. 70% of the time when he swings, and he’s a horrible base runner. He does have power tho.

          • Bonzi77 1 year ago

            But all in all, he’s been an above average hitter every year since 2007. So unless he’s been an above average fielder as well, it’s just not accurate to say his offense is “just as questionable.”

          • Dylan 1 year ago

            It may have been a reach, but he’s nearly an average hitter to a below average hitter, just with above average power if that makes sense. In fact, he’s one of the worst pure hitters in the game as he swings at a ton of pitches out of the zone.

          • Bonzi77 1 year ago

            “Pure hitter” is a strawman. His wRC+ for his career is 114, so he’s 14% better than the average hitter. That’s significant.

            Put another way, the difference between Nelson Cruz and an average hitter is roughly the same as the difference between an average hitter and Yuniesky Betancourt.

          • chicothekid 1 year ago

            Strawman, now THERE was a pure hitter. That guy had the prettiest swing ever. I fell in love with baseball watching his swing.

          • James Stevens 1 year ago

            And how much of that power can be attributed to the PEDs.

          • Dylan 1 year ago

            That I don’t know. Possibly a lot, or just a little. It further shows that he’s not that valuable that his best (and only) tool needed extra help.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            His power has been consistent through his career, and he’d never failed a drug test before. And we don’t know the whole story yet with Biogenesis. It’s shady that MLB suspended all these guys with 52-55 games left in the season, Teams would encourage their guys to accept the suspension without appeal so they could be sure they’d have them back for the postseason – note guys like Peralta and Cruz, in particular. By setting a stage where these guys would quickly accept their suspensions, it made MLB’s case against the guys they REALLY wanted – A-Rod and Braun – even stronger. I’m willing to give Cruz the benefit of the doubt for now because there’s at least a reasonable chance that he was a pawn in a much bigger game.

        • John Murray 1 year ago

          Looking at his extra-base power, not just his homers, and equating it to a 162 game season – you really will have a hard time convincing most astute baseball fans of that one, even after a PED issue.

          • Dylan 1 year ago

            He has power. I’m not questioning that. It’s just he lacks everything else.

    • Dylan 1 year ago

      While I would take Cruz over Young. Don’t act like Cruz is a great player, because he isn’t.

      • John Murray 1 year ago

        No, but the gap is wider than the salary indicates, even with the draft pick.

        • SWB0781 . 1 year ago

          Not really. Young was a better player in 2012. Had a down year last year for sure, but with his defense provides much more upside if he can even be an average hitter.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            I really feel Cruz has a lot more upside for a team like Baltimore that plans to go for it. Very good postseason history, they don’t need him to play the outfield, and with a lack of real depth on the mound, the O’s will likely need to bludgeon opponents. Young’s OPS has NEVER been close to Cruz’s, and as a DH, the O’s could care less about his defensive value. At least to the O’s, Cruz has immense short-term value, while Young has virtually none.

          • SWB0781 . 1 year ago

            For the Orioles I definitely agree. Cruz is more valuable. But for the Mets Young is the better signing. These are two different teams with different needs. I’m just saying, I am much happier as a Mets fan with the Young signing than I would be with Cruz. And I’m sure Orioles fans feel the same way about Cruz instead of Young.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            I get that, for sure. Honestly, though, I`m super confused about why the Mets wanted to spend the money they did on Granderson and seemingly are lukewarm on Drew. Grandy`s turned into a strikeout machine, and he could be Jason Bay all over again, albeit with better D. Drew, though, is a defensive whiz…watched him all year and I`m shocked nobody seems to want him, especially producing some solid offense from a position that presently lacks it.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            How do you feel about the Granderson signing…and about the potential of signing Drew…

        • Dylan 1 year ago

          Only because it’s a. 2nd round. In my opinion, a first round pick is worth more than Cruz.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            With a career OPS of over .800, and with him still performing at that level? Sorry, that’s just plain silly. Once you get past the top ten draft picks each year, it’s a coin toss if they’ll ever even get to the majors, let alone perform at the level Cruz performs at.

          • Dylan 1 year ago

            I get that, I do. But picks are attached to money and they are also investments for the future.

          • JYD 1 year ago

            Right, it’s the #55 pick in a weak draft and if the O’s make a qualifying offer next year and he signs elsewhere they will get a higher pick in the 2015 draft in return. The O’s had a huge hole at DH so it’s a great deal for them.

  11. Joe Valenti 1 year ago

    While I think Cruz is the better player (and better value), I agree that I would rather CY at his salary than Cruz at his, if I am the Mets. The fact of the matter is that the strength of the Mets team, especially beyond 2014 will be pitching. You can’t have cheap hits fall in that start or continue rallies. That is why CY is a better fit for the Mets than Cruz. In most other situations, I would take Cruz. This also makes me curious about Granderson. Obviously there wasn’t the PED issue, but it makes you think that they may have been able to sign him for less

    • bryan 1 year ago

      The only reason the Mets said that was because there is no DH in the NL

  12. Derpy 1 year ago

    Um, this isn’t major league baseball’s fault. This is the player union’s fault. The players VOTED for this. They wanted this. They don’t get to complain about it. We all knew (or at least everyone I know who follows this stuff, including myself) that this was going to happen. Tying slot money to free agents was going to nuke the value of the free agents. It was obvious to everyone who cared. The players should have fallen into the group of people who cared, but apparently they didn’t pay attention and ended up voting for something they either didn’t understand or didn’t know about. Too bad for them, now they have to live with it for the next few years. Maybe this will get them to focus on the details more in the next CBA.

    Also, can we all get past thinking about this as a draft pick hurting the value of the player? It very clearly is not. It is the slot money. Draft picks have been tied to free agents for as long as I can remember, the slot money is what changed.

  13. Drew Brees 1 year ago

    Despite acquiring Jimenez and Cruz, I still question if they will be able to compete with the big boys (Red Sox, Yankees, Rays)

    • Bonzi77 1 year ago

      In the last two years, they have more wins than the Red Sox, as many as the Rays and only 2 less than the Yankees. So they’re already “competing”. Whether or not they can beat them is another story, but they’re in the mix.

      • John Murray 1 year ago

        They`ve got the offense, but they do need a lot to go right. They couldn`t get more than 85 wins last year with Chris Davis having a career year, Adam Jones having his best so far, and with a now-departed-and-not-replaced closer saving 50 games. Jimenez has had two great half-seasons in his career, and Cruz is coming off a PED suspension. It could all work out. And it all might not. I think they`re positioned better to survive an injury bug than either the Yankees or Jays, though.

      • Drew Brees 1 year ago

        You do know that the Red Sox had one bad year and completely turned it around since then right? So your argument that the Orioles have more wins than the Red Sox the last 2 years is flawed.

        • Bonzi77 1 year ago

          No, I didn’t know that, I was asleep for all of 2013. I missed a lot, it’s a sensitive subject and I’d thank you to not bring it up.

          Seriously though, the Red Sox had a great year last year. A year where a lot of things went right. I don’t think they’re a 97 win team, even if they returned the exact same roster, which they aren’t. Best team in the division? Yes. Better than the Orioles? Absolutely. But not so much better that it’s fair to say the Orioles can’t “compete”.

          • Drew Brees 1 year ago

            Sorry but I can’t see Jimenez pitching well in this division. Also Cruz is a big question mark. You might challenge the Rays for 3rd in the division, if things go well. Not trying to hate, just being realistic.

          • Bonzi77 1 year ago

            I think you’re underrating the Rays and overrating the Yankees. I think we’re probably evaluating the Orioles the same and just arguing over semantics. But I do think the gap between 1st and 4th in the division will be less than 10 games.

          • Drew Brees 1 year ago

            I agree Yankees do have some question marks, but what team does not? With the additions they made, they have to be considered a major threat for first in the division.

            That would be really fun if the gap between 1st and 4th will be less than 10 games.

          • Bonzi77 1 year ago

            If the Yankees stay healthy, they’re very dangerous, but I don’t think good health is a reasonable expectation for that roster. You don’t have to stretch very hard to see a scenario where their entire infield is a disaster, for example.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            I don’t know that the Yankees are even as good as they were last year. Offensively, they’re better, but they’re only a lot better if Jeter and Teixeira are both fully recovered and play like it. And even if they are, the pitching staff has to be a major worry. Tanaka is a nice addition, but he’s ultimately going to do well to just be as good as the retired Andy Pettitte. And with Mo and Boone Logan gone with virtually no replacement, the starters will have to do more, and with CC and Kuroda a year older – that’s a lot to ask. The Rays and Red Sox are still focused on what they need, whereas the Yankees spent on things they didn’t need desperately (outfielders and a long-term catcher) and ignored their real needs (infield and the bullpen). This is why the Sox and Rays remain the class of this division. The O’s, at least, are making themselves look as good, if not better, than the Yankees by making a late charge. But the bullpen still looks weak, and that’s almost suicide in this division with the offenses that most teams have.

          • Drew Brees 1 year ago

            Yankees had the likes of Chris Nelson, Lyle Overbay, Ben Francisco, and Chris Stewart starting games for them last year. I don’t see how it can get any worse than that. Yankees were just plain unlucky with the injuries (like Granderson getting hit in the arm by a pitch twice). Also Yankees added Beltran, Mccann, and a full year of Soriano should help as well.

          • Bonzi77 1 year ago

            They’re not that far off from that happening again. That’s what happens when you put a bunch of 35+ year olds with injury histories in one line-up. And they’re now minus Cano and Granderson, which offsets a big chunk of what they are adding.

          • James Stevens 1 year ago

            You all crack me up with this age argument. Granderson was hit by a pitch. CC was coming off surgery, Tex strained his wrist. Jeter broke his leg. Our injuries have little to do with age and more to do with freak incidents.

          • Bonzi77 1 year ago

            “Freak Accidents” happen to older players more often. 25 year olds very rarely snap their ankle in half making a routine plant to go for a ground ball, for example.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            In addition to what Bonzi says below, it’s not so much the injuries, but the recovery time. Jeter was gone all year; so was Tex. Grandy was mediocre when he came back. Putting your head in the sand about team age is a dangerous approach. Robertson and Gardner are two of your youngest players and are FAs after this season, you’ve got a weak farm system, and you’ve got $150 million committed for each of the next two seasons to a total of 7 players. You won championships when you had a blend of youth and age. Going to be a lot tougher with the blend you have now.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            Soriano had a shot of “Yankee adrenaline” before he slumped in mid-September – truth is, he’s a sub .300 OBP guy who isn’t getting any better. I don’t know how unlucky a team as old as the Yankees can be with injuries – all of their projected starting position players are over 30, and several over 35. And while we might not think that Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are losses to this team – they really didn’t replace them at all, so I think they are going to be suffering a lot with mound depth. The reason they fell out of the race in September wasn’t because they couldn’t score; it was because the staff was exhausted. It’s going to be a challenging year for them.

          • Drew Brees 1 year ago

            Disagree. Hughes was one of the worst starters in the majors last year. We replaced him with Tanaka. And don’t give me the argument about how he’s hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors, there is no way he will be as bad as Hughes. Plus Michael Pineda hopefully wins the 5th starter job. Injuries can happen with young players too; they don’t have to be old to get injured(look at Machado for example). Bullpen is the easiest part to build; there are always arms available for that, and Brian Cashman is adept at finding them.

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            No, you didn’t replace Hughes with Tanaka, you replaced Pettitte with Tanaka, and those are MUCH bigger shoes to fill. I’m not suggesting Tanaka will be a dud, but it’s a big expectation to think he’ll be an improvement over Pettitte having no MLB experience. Pineda, or someone else who has never thrown 100 innings as a starter in their career, will be asked to replace Hughes. You might think that will be easy. We’ll talk about that further in August. And if you think a bullpen is the easiest part to build, you must have turned off your TV the end of August, because that’s the main reason you didn’t make the playoffs. And while I think Cashman has done a reasonable job in years past, he’s been an awful GM for the past five years – and your farm system is ample evidence of that.

          • Drew Brees 1 year ago

            Pineda was an all star in 2011 and threw 171 innings…Cashman awful? He was good at finding players to fill in for all the injuries and as a result they were competitive until the last 2 weeks of the season, plus they still won 85 ganes. No I didn’t turn off my TV, I kept watching till the end of the season. How was our bullpen the main reason we didn’t make the playoffs?? We had Rivera, Robertson, and Kelley. Yes Rivera struggled late in the season, but in no way we did not make the playoffs because of that. Our main issue was the the starting rotation because only 2 guys were pitching well(Pettitte and Nova).

          • John Murray 1 year ago

            Ahh but there`s the real problem, and my contention is that the Yankees did not address it. You touched on the reason why the bullpen broke down late – so how is that less likely to happen this year…the Yankees have to be concerned about Tanaka`s high pitch counts in japan, so they`re pretty likely to be watching him this year. Pineda, as you probably know, is a hundred miles from a sure thing, and the returning starters are older and not likely to give more innings this year. And while the Yankees cant control Rivera retiring, it`s confusing why you`d let Boone Logan go and yet sign Matt Thornton, who the Sox left off a postseason roster. And Cashman gets the credit for 85 wins last year…huh….for letting Swisher and Martin go in favor of guys like Wells, Overbay, and Hafner. Girardi worked miracles to get 85 wins out of the garbage Cashman gave him.

          • chicothekid 1 year ago

            I don’t have any horses in the AL East race, and I’d just say that the Yankees don’t scare me. They have a LOT of good players, but a LOT of holes as well. The rotation is thin and as soon as Texeira takes his regular trip to the DL, the entire infield is suspect.

            They are NOT built for the playoffs and probably won’t even make it that far anyway.

          • Drew Brees 1 year ago

            Again what team dosent have holes? Your team has holes too. If you are an Orioles fan, your rotation is even thinner than ours.

          • chicothekid 1 year ago

            You might want to read the first half of the first sentence again.

            Yes, most teams have holes, although the Dodgers and Cardinals are both pretty scary. My team however, is trying to start up the new Swiss cheese league. I know all about holes, so you don’t have to tell me about them. My team stinks from the top down and this year is already shot to yuck and back. That doesn’t mean I can’t see the writing on the wall for other teams too though, and you’ll notice I didn’t say anything about the O’s in my post, just the fact that the Yankees have a LOT of holes. That’s it. They spent a LOT of money and still have an inordinate amount of holes in their roster.

            If you can’t see that, you are too blinded by the pinstripes to see much of anything and the Steinbrenners have you and your wallet right where they want you.

        • mstrchef13 1 year ago

          I wish I knew what team you were rooting for, because you sound like you’re both a Red Sox apologist and a Yankees apologist. The argument is not flawed, it is FACT. You know that the O’s still won 85 games last year and were in the wild card race up until the last week despite a rotation so messed up at times that it ran Sweaty Freddy Garcia out there 10 times.

          Oh, and to requote you, you do know that the Orioles had 14 bad years and completely turned it around since then right? Time to drop the old expectations and embrace the New World Order. The Orioles may not be the favorites, but they are competitive once again.

        • Andrew Ochs 1 year ago

          Quick name the only team in the AL east to have winning record vs the red sox last year

    • No Name 1 year ago

      You do know the Orioles won the season series against both the Redsox and Yankees last year right?

      • Bonzi77 1 year ago

        That’s not actually true. The Yankees won the season series against the Orioles 10-9.

        • Drew Brees 1 year ago

          Even when each hitter other than Cano all spent time on the DL.

    • Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year ago

      Really? I Like the Orioles chances.
      Their defense is solid
      They have quite a bit of power in their line-up.
      Their pitching rotation has now solidified!
      Maybe, the bullpen is a bit of a question mark, but so is everyone elses in the AL East. If anything the Orioles will be very entertaining and competitive!
      They should be in every game no matter who they play!

      • Drew Brees 1 year ago

        The offense is the only solid part of their team. Your rotation is still thinner than the Yankees, Red Sox, or Rays. Plus you payed $50 million to a guy who had half a season of success over the last 3 years.

        • Tom_McAllister 1 year ago

          They have the best defense in baseball, too. And our rotation is not that much thinner than Boston/New York. New York is banking on heavy contributions from a guy who has never pitched in the majors (let alone the AL East), and another one who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011. Do you really think Buchholz will have a 1.74 ERA again this year? I don’t. The Orioles have tightened the gap considerably since the 2012 with their rotation. Gone are Hammel, Arrieta, and Garcia from last year. And we potentially have 2 top 20 prospects to help later this year. No other team in the AL East has that.

  14. Rabbitov 1 year ago

    We all already knew the compensation system was flawed.

    • johnsilver 1 year ago

      Funny part?

      They took it from where it would at least help small market teams to where it helps nobody.

      Ar the same yo-yo’s running the MLBPA that are running the AFL-CIO? it seems to be.

      • Rabbitov 1 year ago

        I’m not sure the old compensation system really helped anyone. It was way too easy to trade for compensation eligible players at the trade deadline to abuse the system.

        I don’t know how baseball can’t get even close to getting it right, its really sad.

  15. PXDX 1 year ago

    Cruz blew it here: he overestimated his value. He was never getting 4/75.

    1. He’s 33 – goes against the trend of older players getting multi-years.

    2. He plays a corner OF spot – badly – and was suspended for PEDs – different to Peralta and Colon, who also had PED suspensions but play different, more valuable positions.

    3. 3.9 WAR over the last 3 seasons.

    He was actually lucky to get 1/8.

    • John Murray 1 year ago

      His WAR is skewed by missed time. He was on a pace for near 40 homers and 115 RBIs in both 2011 and 2013. He also isn`t THAT bad an outfielder…he`s slightly below average, not a complete liability. Outfielders who have more assists than errors are generally at least serviceable, and that would define Cruz. I agree totally he was never worth 4 and 75, but he`s worth a lot more than 1 and 8, and the O`s are probably pinching themselves today.

      • vigouge 1 year ago

        No he’s that bad a defensive player. Over the last 3 years he’s been more than 33 runs below average defensively and that’s with missing ~60 games because of suspension and injury.

        • John Murray 1 year ago

          Won’t matter much because he’s being paid to DH.

        • Tom_McAllister 1 year ago

          David Lough is projected to be their everyday left fielder, and he’s above average defensively. Defensively, the team doesn’t have many weak spots defensively. Wieters, Hardy, Machado, Jones, and Markakis have all won Gold Gloves, and Chris Davis was nominated last year. Flaherty and Lough are both good fielders too.

      • James Stevens 1 year ago

        I cannot believe you are citing his 2013 numbers as a reason to sign him. HE WAS ON STEROIDS!!! Melky was batting .349 in 2012 for 100 games. Look what happened when he came back in 2013. Not very good.

        • John Murray 1 year ago

          Melky is no comparison, because he was mediocre for years, and suddenly emerged with KC in 2011. Cruz has been pretty much the same guy his entire career. Check his stats.

    • bryan 1 year ago

      The O’s have enough outfield depth were they don’t have to rely on Cruz defensively. He will pretty much be the full time DH. Unless O’s get crazy and sign Morales too. Then the rest of the league better start shaking in their boots. That lineup would be INSANE!

  16. Marco Agave 1 year ago

    Keith Law (and anyone who reposts his story) completely miss the real issue here. Teams are not concerned with the loss of a draft pick that goes with signing a player who received a qualifying offer. The draft pick itself is inconsequential. What matters is the loss of bonus money that can offered to the signing team’s draft picks. Say that a team signs Steven Drew and, as a result, loses a low first round draft pick. Now, say that $1.1 million in bonus money associated with that draft slot is lost by that team. What does that matter in real terms? Last year, the Red Sox signed their 4th round (Myles Smith – $400,000), 5th round (Corey Littrell ($300,000), 6th round (Jordan Austin – $254,900) and 7th round (Mike Adams – $150,000) picks for almost exactly $1.1 million. Lose one draft pick? Big deal. Lose the financial ability to sign four picks? That’s a deal breaker. Getting rid of draft pick compensation won’t change anything unless you also get rid of the loss of bonus money.

    • pft2 1 year ago

      “What matters is the loss of bonus money that can offered to the signing
      team’s draft picks. Say that a team signs Steven Drew and, as a result,
      loses a low first round draft pick.”

      So you are saying teams underpay 1st rounders to overpay late rounders. If you no longer have a 1st round pick, you no longer need that money to sign the 1st round pick. What are the odds any of a 2nd round-7th round pick does more than make the MLB for a cup of tea. Also, those picks have their own slot money commensurate with their value, which is not very much

      Seriously, a nice attempt by MLB to provide an excuse to suppress salaries, but it does not fly with me.

  17. lwayne 1 year ago

    Seattle prefers Morales over Cruz???? Morales reported to camp 40 lbs over his desired playing weight. That’s probably 40 lbs of fat too.

    • Bonzi77 1 year ago

      That wasn’t Morales, it was Jesus Montero. Morales hasn’t reported to camp anywhere yet.

    • Gland1 1 year ago

      What camp did Morales report to?

  18. Mike1L 1 year ago

    Too much focus on one tiny part of the system, and people who blame the MLBPA aren’t acknowledging that the old system with Type A and Type B was far more intrusive, and placed a disproportionate emphasis on oddball choices like middle inning relievers and decent but not spectacular regulars who could stay on the field. The best market, in all honesty, is an unregulated one. The few QO-impacted players aren’t really dragging down salaries generally, because the stars are getting their money and the more flawed ones people are just writing off as aberrations. If you really want to be creative, limit the number of higher tier FA that can be signed by one team in the off-season to maybe two.

    • pft2 1 year ago

      You just said the best market is an unregulated one and then suggest limiting the number of higher tier free agents that can be signed. LOL

      The few impacted QO players outnumber the elites, and since they are comps for more arb eligible players than elite players, so suppressing their salaries
      has an impact on non-free agent players. They will also impact elite players down the road.

      You are right the old system of Type A free agents impacted more players, yet we seem to have the same issues RP’ers had with SP’ers and everyday players. This has not been the case before and you have to owner if a habitual offender is back to its old tricks.

      • Mike1L 1 year ago

        You and I disagree. I don’t believe that arbitrators would take into account the handful of QO-impacted players as baselines for arbitration. They are, by definition, poor comparables. As to collusion, I’m not yet convinced there is enough evidence that is going on. As to my suggestion that caused you to LOL, I was merely proposing alternatives. My preference would be no system, and the FA go where they want.

  19. pft2 1 year ago

    There are 2 issues here.

    1. MLBPA should never agreed to a penalty in the system. This was a problem in the old system as well with Type A Free Agents which led to the QO system. The only purpose is to suppress free agent prices. Allowing a tie in of revenue sharing rebates with the LT and not taking a harder stand on revenue sharing recipients not spending
    on free agents also suggests a weakness in the MLBPA in recent years.

    2. This offseason smacks of limited collusion targeting non-elite free agents. As a repeat offender, MLB has to be a bit smarter to avoid getting caught a 5th time, so they have not restrained spending on elite free agents, although 1 team accounted for 1/2 of these. These below market signings as a result of their concerted effort also have a trickle down effect to arb-eligible players. Salary increases for arb eligible players are down slightly from last year. They will also effect elite free agent salaries down the road. MLBPA and their players should smarten up.

  20. aok 1 year ago

    I’m glad the Mariners didn’t sign him. I always thought Morales would be the better choice. Now if the Mariners would go out and get him before a team signs HIM too.

  21. yes 1 year ago

    Indians did the same thing last year and they’re amongst the league’s poorest bottom 5.

  22. Dave P 1 year ago

    The new qualifying policy “favors richer teams”…so why did the Orioles sign Cruz?

  23. Dylan 1 year ago

    I’m not sure I’m with you on that analogy, but I’ll try to explain this way. Her looks can only take her so far, sooner or later she had to show talent in acting to get the big laying gig. Cruz is getting a far deal because he is a 1 tool player. If he could get on base, run bases , or play defense, he’d be given a star contract.

  24. John Murray 1 year ago

    Which actually IS the point, because your comments are without merit. Cruz CAN get on base…a .327 career OBP isn’t bad; that’s close to what Mark Teixeira has done his last two full seasons, and Cruz is about $14 million cheaper this year. Cruz also has 65 career SB, three times what a Teixeira has, and has been caught stealing at about the same pace. And Cruz is being paid only $8 million because they don’t need him to play D.

  25. James Stevens 1 year ago

    Find me someone, especially a Yankee fan, that doesn’t believe Tex is way overpaid. Bad comparison.

  26. Dylan 1 year ago

    You can’t judge Tex’s contract from his stats after the deal. Look at his five years before the deal. Especially 2008, with his .308/.410/.552 line with excellent defense. That’s why he got paid.

  27. Dylan 1 year ago

    Actually horrible… Not just bad. Tex had a stretch of like. 5 or 6 years of great offensive seasons and played elite defense. I agree with you.

  28. John Murray 1 year ago

    Sorry, just comparing where Tex is now with where Cruz is now. It was only a quick offensive comparison. And I don’t think you guys are agreeing at all, lol. Tex also isn’t a fraction of the postseason player Cruz has been throughout their careers. And btw – the reason that Yankee fans think Tex is overpaid today is the same reason that they’ll feel that Ellsbury is overpaid 5 years from now.

  29. Dylan 1 year ago

    I do agree that they will regret Ellsbury and possibly McCann as well.

  30. Dylan 1 year ago

    Unless it gets them another two rings…

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