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."


Leave a Reply

156 Comments on "Reactions To The Nelson Cruz Deal"


James Stevens
1 year 5 months ago

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

Korflock
1 year 5 months ago

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

LazerTown
1 year 5 months ago

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

The_Unnatural
1 year 5 months ago

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

Joe Valenti
1 year 5 months ago

That is what he was asking for on the market

The_Artist_Formerly_OFIC
1 year 5 months ago

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

malkusm
1 year 5 months ago

Ha, we posted the same thing at the same time

malkusm
1 year 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

Meh Sheep
1 year 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

James Stevens
1 year 5 months ago

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

OhthePossibilities
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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.

1 year 5 months ago

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.

homer
homer
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

charles
1 year 5 months ago

Now seattle resign morales and trade for a cf.

The_Unnatural
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago

Nick Franklin for Marcel Ozuna who says no?

paqza
1 year 5 months ago

As a Mets fan, I say no.

The_Unnatural
1 year 5 months 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.

gammaraze
1 year 5 months ago

Cruz didn’t get busted, he got narc’d on.

Tesseract
1 year 5 months ago

That’s a lot of ifs

Kevin Hill
1 year 5 months ago

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

budgreen
1 year 5 months ago

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

Ausome7
1 year 5 months ago

It’s their approach…

Metsfan93
1 year 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

Metsfan93
1 year 5 months ago

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

TD272
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago

10.6 fWAR/8.8
7.5/3.9
3.0/2.6
0.5/1.5
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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago

What do you mean by that, exactly?

James Stevens
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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.

UltimateYankeeFan
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

James Stevens
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

gammaraze
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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.

OaklandFan22
1 year 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

Wek
1 year 5 months ago

Cruz is not an offensive wizard either.

dylanp5030
1 year 5 months ago

Cruz offensive game is as questionable as his defensive game.

Bonzi77
1 year 5 months ago

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

dylanp5030
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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.”

dylanp5030
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

dylanp5030
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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.

dylanp5030
1 year 5 months ago

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

dylanp5030
1 year 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

SWB0781 .
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

dylanp5030
1 year 5 months ago

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

John Murray
1 year 5 months 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.

dylanp5030
1 year 5 months ago

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

JYD
1 year 5 months 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.

Joe Valenti
1 year 5 months 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 5 months ago

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

Derpy
1 year 5 months 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.

Drew Brees
1 year 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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.