Last winter, Nelson Cruz turned down a $14.1MM qualifying offer from the Rangers only to find that the market wasn’t anywhere close to what he had hoped. The Orioles wound up inking him to a one-year, $8MM deal which proved to be a brilliant signing. This time around, he shouldn’t have any trouble landing a multi-year deal.
In 2014, Cruz turned in a .271/.333/.525 slash line with 40 homers on the way to his third career All-Star selection. Cruz’s 40 dingers weren’t just a career-high, it was the highest home run total of anyone in the majors in 2014. Cruz’s .525 slugging percentage was good for eighth in the majors, putting him above the likes of Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, and David Ortiz. In a season where the Orioles got just 26 games out of Matt Wieters and lost Manny Machado for half the year, Cruz stepped up in a major way and helped propel them to first place in the American League East.
The advanced metrics were also very fond of Cruz’s 2014 performance. His 137 wRC+ put him in the upper echelon of sluggers. Meanwhile, Cruz’s .288 BABIP was actually a bit lower than his career average and his strikeout rate dipped, so there’s reason to believe he could bump his batting average a bit going forward. Cruz ranked seventh in MLB and first among this offseason’s free agent with a .254 ISO in 2014.
His 2014 may have been a pleasant surprise, but it didn’t come out of the blue. Cruz has a solid track record of quality offensive performance, dating back to his breakout 2009 season with the Rangers. In those six years, Cruz owns a .271/.332/.514 batting line with about 29 homers per season and an OPS+ of 123, showing that he was still well above average even when factoring in the hitter-friendly confines of Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Cruz has proven to be an elite hitter against left-handers with a career .314/.407/.569 while his .258/.310/.513 slash line against righties is nothing to sneeze at either.
Teams will also find his October body of work attractive, and with good reason. With his two home runs in the ALDS, Cruz leapfrogged some legendary names to climb up the all-time postseason home run ladder. With homers 15 and 16 against the Tigers, Cruz tied Carlos Beltran for ninth all-time. As Mark Saxon of ESPN.com noted, that vaulted him ahead of Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, Barry Bonds, Joe DiMaggio, Mark McGwire, and, yes, Babe Ruth. Cruz got there in just 37 career postseason games, less than all of the other players listed.
Unsurprisingly, the Orioles made a qualifying offer to Cruz, meaning that there will be draft pick compensation attached to signing him. In his last trip through free agency, the QO hurt his market (though his asking price was probably more to blame), leading to his discounted deal with Baltimore. Of course, the circumstances were different. For starters, Cruz was reportedly seeking as much as $75MM at the outset of free agency, unrealistic numbers that led to him settling in January. His value was also hurt by the tarnish of the Biogenesis scandal and the resulting 50-game suspension he served in 2013.
For all of his positives at the plate, there isn’t much that can be said for his agility or base running at this stage of his career. In 2014, Cruz put up a career-worst BsR of -3.3, putting him somewhere between “below average” and “poor” on the basepaths.
While Cruz graded well in a small sample this year (he had a UZR/150 of 3.8 with 3 defensive runs saved), he’s certainly not valued for his glove. He spent more of his time in the DH role, which he might be better suited for going forward. A team signing Cruz will be getting him for his mid-to-late 30s (he’ll start next year at 34 and turn 35 on July 1) and his agility in the field doesn’t figure to improve from here, to say the least.
Cruz’s WAR of 3.9 from this past season was his highest in years, a showing that was only bested by his 2010 season with the Rangers. In his last three seasons, his value has been teetering on that of a good player, but not necessarily a great one (although his suspension in 2013 did deflate that number).
On the whole, his age figures to dampen his value. While teams are usually looking to pay for prime years at the top of the market, Cruz’s remaining years could be a drop off from what we’ve seen over the last few.
As Steve Adams noted in his profile of Cruz last winter, he’s an accomplished two-sport athlete who played for the Dominican Republic Junior National Team in his younger days. His father also played professional baseball in the DR, so that sort of thing runs in the family. Cruz and his wife have two children.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette had great things to say about Cruz as a locker room presence earlier this month. “You can tell just by watching him, he’s the leader of the ballclub,” said Duquette, according to Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun. Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun wrote that Cruz created a comfort zone for the club’s younger latino players, like second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Adam Jones spoke glowingly about Cruz’s impact on the team.
Cruz changed agents in early October, joining Diego Bentz of Relativity Sports.
As mentioned Encina’s piece, Duquette is realistic about his chances of keeping Cruz beyond this season. “He came here to have a platform year to get himself re-established to get him a long-term deal and that’s something we will have to consider,” Duquette said.
The Mariners probably regret passing on Cruz last offseason and they could try and make up for that mistake this time. They’re in need of a quality DH and are expected to chase the likes of Cruz and Victor Martinez. A reunion with the Rangers could be a possibility, but they previously balked at the idea of a three-year deal and it may not be any more palatable to them now. Cruz has been linked to the Yankees, though there isn’t a clear fit at this time with Beltran expected to return to right field. Giving Cruz DH time could be tough as well with Beltran, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira likely needing at-bats there. The Tigers, Royals, and Twins are also among the AL teams with potential interest. National League teams can and will certainly show interest, but it remains to be seen how far they will go given the concerns about his defense.
Last season, Curtis Granderson signed a four-year, $60MM deal with the Mets, despite coming off of a season in which he missed 100 games. Cruz, meanwhile, played 159 games and belted 40 homers in his walk year. While there are many differences between the two players, including age (Granderson was 32 last winter, Cruz is 34), Cruz’s reps probably believe that they can match the years and top the total value of Granderson’s contract.
Complicating matters, of course, will be the qualifying offer and the same PED suspension that depressed his market value last winter. As Steve Adams wrote earlier this month about Melky Cabrera, no player with those two factors working against them has ever been able to cash in big in free agency.
Steve projected that Cabrera would land a five-year, $66.25MM and rightly noted that Cabrera is four years younger and has more defensive value. Still, Cruz has power on his side and that is at a major premium around the game. His age will preclude him from the same length on the contract but he can still get a very healthy payday for himself on a slightly shorter deal. I predict that Cruz will ultimately best Granderson’s deal from last winter with a four-year, $70MM deal.
Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images.
VMART is only a year older than Cruz and still plays 1st base as needed (meaning his is not a strict DH).
Does Zach think Cruz is a better player and will get a bigger contract? Doubtful that VMART will get past 4/$60MM.
I would much rather have VMART personally. Look at his OBP v. Cruz.
Martinez is two years older and hasn’t played defense for more than 300 inning since 2010.
Nelson Cruz will be 38 at the end of a 4 year contract starting 2015. VMART will be 39.
They are close enough in age to compare directly. Especially if you assume that Cruz has a PED history and would likely regress without the help he has received in the past.
VMART is a much better all around hitter. I would think that he could age with less power, but still a high OBP through the end of his contract. Cruz is much more of an “all or nothing” hitter. There was a SEVENTY point difference in on base percentage between the two last year.
If you’re expecting regression post-PEDs, you might want to check his stats from this year as mentioned in the article.
Name one PED tainted player that was above an average MLB player after age 35.
Maybe Giambi. That is it.
Barry Bonds won 4 MVP’s after his 35th birthday and he’s as PED tainted as anyone.
Maybe he should have added to his statement by saying, “..and still wasn’t on PEDS.”
Probably should have but I’m not the one that asked the question, I just answered it. If you want one that is no longer on PED’s… how about Big Papi.
You may have a point that Cruz and Peralta are simply still one step ahead of the tests. I suppose that it is possible that teams will just look the other way and continue to get production out of PED tainted players that are still cheating.
If you want to look at player other PED users that played after PED testing started you run into a more controversial list but Big Papi (tested positive for PEDs) and Andy Pettite (named in Mitchel Report, purchased PED from Kirk Radomski in 2002, later admitted it) both performed well after their 35th birthdays.
I really don’t think comparing Cruz to Bonds is a good thought experiment.
How many players above 35 are average regardless of PED. Biggest concern giving a 34 year old $70MM.
Why would Nelson Cruz suffer a PED regression in 2015 if he didn’t in 2014? Were the PEDs still affecting him more than two years after he took them? And if they were, they won’t be affecting him next year? I don’t follow your logic.
Whoever signs Cruz to a 4/70 deal will regret it. Still I think he will find a 4 year deal.
Get 2 ‘/2 good years out of him and youve probably done well.
I really don’t get how his market should be better this year. It’s not like he is any better of a hitter, but now he is a full time dh, and a year older.
He hit more HRs than any other player in 2014. He padded his resume big time.
He played 50 more games that pretty much the only difference between 2013 and 2014. Otherwise his rate stats are pretty much the same.
and that is simply a counting stat. He is the same exact batter he was last winter, only another year older.
Also, he proved that he can be effective without PEDs (…or without being caught with PEDs).
Mariners had an agreement for $7.5MM and a $9MM club option. Did PED questions really diminish his market by more than $50MM?
He turns 35 next year. Not the best 4 year contract at all.
Unfortunately, quality power bats are few and far between, no matter the age. This is why the Red Sox keep paying Ortiz $15MM per year and extending him even though he’s never done anything other than DH. Nothing against Ortiz, but supply and demand is why he makes what he makes and why Cruz will get paid.
Cruz is no where near level of Ortiz.
And yet he’s a better power bat than 90% of the league. He’s going to cash in, whether or not he’s “worth it”.
Cruz is a year removed from the biogenesis scandal, is coming of a career offensive year and is the number 1 power bat in a very weak offensive FA class. His market will certainly be stronger this year.
If a team regrets a deal with Nelson, I’ll have no other choice but to point and say “HA-HA!”
Last winter you predicted $39MM/3, and this winter $70MM/4???
He is the same player in Baltimore as he was in Texas, only now he is another year older.
I see your point, but hes now coming off a 40HR 4.7 WAR year instead of a 27HR 2.4 WAR campaign, thats going to account for some uptick in value.
Is there any expectation though that he will provide any better value in his next contract though? And a part that people are ignoring. Cruz’s defense is considered bad enough that he gets more war playing dh this year, than when he was playing rf in texas. But in for all purposes, he is a less valuable player now.
Not Clinically Insane
While that 27HR year was cut short by 50 games. Factor that in and he could have hit 35-40 in 2013 as well. Though with the PED flag
40 HR’s and no PED suspension really helps.
Yep. Platform years and whatnot.
Not in my opinion. I’m looking how I can hand out good contracts, not about what he has done. .266/.327/.506 -> .271/.333/.525 is essentially the same.
I don’t think he has done anything to warrant an increase of $40MM and an extra year, he is one year older. People are getting too caught up in his recent past, and ignoring what he will provide.
As a GM you shouldn’t be paying for history, you should be paying for the expectation of what they will do. There is nothing to allude that Nelson Cruz is any better of a potential player this year.
No one’s saying he’s worth 4/70, just that he’ll get it. When has free agency ever been a source of contracts that make good fiscal sense?
Granderson got $60MM based on 40-homer upside coming off a season in which he played 60 games. Cruz is coming off an actual 40-homer season.
In all honesty, my 3/39 prediction last winter was light. If he’d come out looking for 4/50 rather than 4/80, he might’ve gotten it. He held out, and teams spent their money elsewhere. Now he’s coming off a better season in a weaker market for bats, and teams aren’t concerned about the unknown of whether or not he can produce following a PED suspension. He’s going to get paid, and yes, probably far too much.
But you should at least hope it doesn’t look like a massive mistake right when he signs it. Granderson had never had injury problems, and was 2 years younger than Cruz is this winter. The biggest difference to me though is position flexibility. Cruz is basically a dh only now, Granderson is an adequate outfielder.
Sure there isn’t the question of the PED, but does that honestly way outweight losing another year of prime?
Per UZR and URZ/150 Granderson was actually a worse defensive outfielder than Cruz in 2014
EDIT: Granderson’s 2012 and 2014 UZR and URZ/150 were far worse than Cruz’s worst defensive season, 2011.
Did Cruz honestly get anywhere near an adequate sample size for us to quote his 2014 uzr numbers?
65 outfield games – 580 innings – prorated to 150 games is fine with me. Cruz actually posted *positive* DRS and UZR in 2014, which I didn’t know. 2012-2014, Cruz has posted a grand total of -6.6 UZR over 2194 outfield innings, or a little below average. fWAR docked Cruz 9 runs defensively in 2013, and 11 runs defensively in 2014, so your mantra that playing the DH helped his value is materially false. Positive outfield defense when he actually played is what helped his value. And again, 137 wRC+ and 122 wRC+ are not the same. A ~20 point uptick in slugging percentage when overall slugging percentage dropped .010 or so is not insignificant. Cruz had a noticeably better offensive performance on a rate basis over 220 more PA and contrary to your beliefs, having that much better of a platform season significantly helps his value. He is a year older, but not only did he not experience a decrease in performance coming off the PED suspension, he actually experienced a renaissance. Even so, he’s clearly not worth 4/70, but someone will likely pay him that. As a GM, even if circumstances were perfect, I’d max out at Granderson-money.
And you’re probably right. There can be 29 GMs who think exactly that way. The problem is, it only takes 1 to make the bad offer (please don’t let it be RAJ!) – and then that’s what he’ll end up with.
And if a gm gives this guy $70MM it will be a massive mistake.
If the Red Sox go after another QO tendered player (Liriano comes to mind), I could see them pursuing Cruz as well for big money and short years (3/4 years, 40-60MM?). Backup OF, 1B, DH, and a starter if they successfully dangle and trade Napoli, Victorino, or Cespedes to help fill another need.
Shields is more likely to be their first QO target with Liriano their second. You’re not going to pay a COF/DH 40-60 MM when you’ve got David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Yoenis Cespedes, Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino, and Daniel Nava, with super-defender Jackie Bradley Jr. in reserve….
You would when Ortiz, Napoli, Cespedes, Victorino, and maybe Nava (not 100% sure on him) are in their last year. The last 3 are CF’s with low power, and JBJ can’t hit.
You’re not going to commit 4 years to Cruz if you’re Boston. You’re just not going to. You can come back here and quote me on it if Boston signs Cruz, but it goes against what Cherington is doing there. Cherington almost certainly would be the last GM to overspend on Cruz.
Was Dempster worth $15MM/year? Victorino $13MM/year? Gomes $5MM/year? I’m pretty sure their game plan has been to overspend but on shorter length contracts. The only one they got wrong was making Napoli’s deal for 1 year because of a “failed physical”.
I don’t see it. RS don’t have room for him really, and he isn’t the type of player you go out of your way to make room for.
The Sox have a glut of outfielders and the DH spot is locked down by Ortiz.
DH locked for one year, OF clogged by trade bait (Betts, Cespedes), injury prone players (Victorino, Craig), and one year deals (Victorino, Cespedes), and 1B is signed for one year as well… Sounds like they could get leverage on resigning who they want and have the ability to trade who they want this off-season by signing Cruz now. Not campaigning Cruz to Boston, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they made a run at him.
I think the big factor for the enormous jump in the prediction is because he is a year removed from his PED bust. People weren’t sure if the numbers he was putting up were just because of the PED – and nobody wanted to take that risk. That’s my best guess (although, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anybody will bite on 4/$70 M).
It questions, but to me I don’t see his market jumping up to that degree from last winter. Players fall off all the time around mid 30’s. When you are talking about a 4 year deal, someone that isn’t all that amazing to begin with, and is already 34, that is scary.
Not to mention, he was really bad in the second half. I would think 3/$39MM is more like it for this year.
3/39 coming off a 40-homer season would have to be seen as a failure by his agent, defensive question marks aside. That might be the sensible thing to offer him, but when are free agent contracts ever sensible?
I don’t really buy the poor second half much either. He BABIPed .224 in July/August, but his K%, BB% and ISO didn’t really take a turn for the worse and he had a monster September/postseason.
BABIP always jumps around in months. Sure he hit 40 hr, and I think he will get paid, but $70MM just seems nuts. How many 34 year old dh’s get 4 year contracts?
And that’s not 40 hr somewhere normal, that is 40 hr playing in Camden Yards, and getting many games in NY, Bos, and Toronto.
What does “defensive question marks aside” even mean? Should we ever throw defensive question marks aside? Free agent contracts for mid-market players are often more sensible. I can’t see it as a failure by his agent. That’s extremely unfair. If the GMs are sensible, what more could his agent have really done?
The Twins showed interest in Cruz last year but that was for a cheap one year deal. I highly doubt they would be even remotely interested at that price tag especially with draft pick compensation attached as they have been reluctant in the past to pursue such players. Can’t see the Royals spending that kind of money either for Cruz. I’m not sold that Cruz’s market will be strong enough to reach that type of contact.
It only takes two to bid the price up. The Mariners, Rangers, Orioles, Astros and Giants could all have interest in Cruz.
I highly doubt the Astros would go anywhere near that contract, and do the Rangers really go 4 years on him when they already have Fielder?
No but like I say it only takes 2 to start a bidding war. There are too many teams in need of offense and too few bat available to think Cruz wont be in demand.
Well that’s true for any player in any off season. I’ll admit I may have too much faith in MLB front offices, what Cruz should get and what he may get are very different. It is certainly possibly teams will see 40 hrs and pursue him aggressively despite having identical rate stats last off-season. I wouldn’t have much faith in a front office that thinks that way. Still I would be surprised if he reached 4 years and $70 million especially without any obvious major market teams in play.
Another reason I will “take the under” on this one is that Cruz is likely to accept the first reasonable offer based on his experience last year. He priced himself out of the market in the 2013-14 offseason because of the risk he took. I am not sure he would be willing to do that again.
A smart GM will take advantage of that mindset and try to sign him by Thanksgiving to a lower than expected contract.
But how many GM’s want to lock up your DH spot for 3+ years of him?
1 year I get, but 3-4 years?
Would a GM really be wanting to pay a declining Curtis Granderson for four years? How about the inconsistent Ubaldo Jimenez for four years? Wait, what about extending the declining Ryan Howard for five? Maybe they would pay the athletic, 28-year old centerfielder who couldn’t hit .250 five years at 15 MM AAV? Or perhaps they’d rather take a flyer on injury-prone former Red Sox outfielder for seven? Or platoon-worthy Shin-Soo Choo for seven? What about in-his-thirties second baseman for ten? All it takes is one.
There is a difference between someone that is 31-32 and someone who is 34. Long term contracts are all about getting excess value in the first years. Cruz is the age where he could drop off.
A lot of money for someone who is going to have to DH most of the time. I guess the question is why teams won’t worry that he’s going to suffer age-related slump, and be unable to offer real value in any other area. that being said, I think the profile is largely on point, and Cruz might very well make that number (maybe with some sort of vesting option to get there)
Cruz is a bad defensive outfielder but labeling him a DH only when Carlos Beltran, Matt Kemp, Dexter Fowler, Coco Crisp, David Murphy and Curtis Granderson are all expected to play the OF in 2015 is unfair. Plenty of teams can stomach a poor defensive corner outfielder that will hit 30+ HR’s.
Vandals Took The Handles
A bat in a time where bats are in short supply.
Not athletic. Not in shape. A DH. Has been running his numbers up in hitters parks. Put him into Safco and his power numbers go down. Try to hide him in LF, or worse yet RF, and he’s hurting the team – particularly the pitching staff.
Nevertheless, the thing about MLB’s ‘market rate’ is that it only takes one desperate GM or owner. Since MLB seems to be awash in revenues and most are spending like drunken sailors on leave, I’d suspect Mr. Cruz gets at least 4/70.
“most are spending like drunken sailors on leave” nice!
I Want My Bird
Rangers waited a real long time to bring him up to the show remember? Was hearing about his minor league #’s for a couple years. Too bad his age now hurts him.
This is a great prediction, and it’s realistically what he’ll get.
Seems to be a little high on the prediction and I would never want my team to sign him for that much but in the crazy free agent market and a baseball world that seems power become more of a premium every year wouldn’t surprise me.
If I were the Orioles I wouldn’t sign him. So much upside in Chris Davis, Manny Machado and Matt Wieters. If I were the Orioles I would look for another starting pitcher. McCarthy is someone I can see in the black and orange.
Re-sign Markakis, move Steve Pearce to the outfield, go with Davis/Schoop/Hardy/Machado/Wieters in the infield? Not actually a bad plan, if you use the cost savings to improve elsewhere and hide the possible downgrade from Cruz to Markakis.
Betting on Steve Pearce to replicate his 2014, Chris Davis to return to 2013 form, Machado to be healthy all year and Schoop to be anything more than a replacement level player is a very risky gamble.
They won 96 (I think) last year with no Schoop production, nothing out of Davis, and nothing out of Wieters or Machado. Even taking away Cruz’ production and some luck, *anything* out of Davis/Machado/Wieters makes them a contender again. Pearce regressing could be cancelled out by an actually-productive Davis. I’d expect them to be a very similar team next year with or without Cruz, because to count on absolutely nothing again out of Davis/Machado/Wieters is less likely than getting something valuable out of one or more members of that trio.
You’re also assuming that the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, and Red Sox will be just as bad and not upgrading whatsoever. Not saying the Orioles won’t win the division next year, but they need to upgrade to win 96 again.
I never said they’d win 96 again. I said they’d be a contender again. Don’t presume to say I’m assuming anything at all.
Sorry, I have to assume things when you say they won 96 games last year, will be a contender again, will have a very similar team, and you don’t project an outcome.
Bringing back the same team, less Cruz and Markakis, and not adequately replacing them = 81 wins, not a contender, and not a similar team.
Cruz and Markakis did not account for 15 wins, sorry. At absolute worst, Chris Davis + Manny Machado + Matt Wieters + Ubaldo Jimenez provide what they did this year once again. Which, by the way, was a little over 4 WAR. If, say, Machado and Wieters rebound and stay healthy, but Davis and Jimenez again combine for about 1 win total, we’re still looking at basically a 4-4.5 win improvement from those four, which would cancel out the production Cruz gave them. Also, just a few posts up, I suggest they re-sign Markakis. So I don’t know why you didn’t mention that. Let Cruz go, and expect negative regression from Pearce, but positive regression from the foursome of Ubaldo/Davis/Machado/Wieters will absolutely cancel out a lot of the loss they’d get from Cruz leaving. If they outperformed by, say, five wins (BaseRuns had them as a 91-win team and Pythag had them as 94 win team so I’ll be generous and take the former, lower number) and lose all of Pearce’s 4 WAR and Cruz’s 4 WAR, but gain 4 collective WAR from Machado/Davis/Wieters/Jimenez, we’re at an 87-win team. Hey, look! The Athletics made the playoffs with 87 wins in 2014. Contender.
Again you ignore that they went 47-29 against their divisional opponents in a division that is 100% going to improve – Rays won’t have every starter in their rotation get hurt for extended time, Red Sox and Yankees will spend to upgrade, and the Blue Jays are always representative. Additionally, the bounce back you’re hoping for from the under-performers on the Orioles is the same thing every other team is hoping for as well. Based on that logic, the Yankees should win 110 games because everyone had a bad year.
For the record, A’s won 88 games.
You mean you don’t see Steve Pearce, he of 17 career HRs coming into the season, hitting 20+ in a half-season again? Say it ain’t so!
The obvious weakness is starting pitching for the Orioles so with the rise of Steve Pearce, it makes sense to rid his low arbitration and invest in some mid-tier pitchers with upside. Also, best to rid out Davis and Wieters while their trade value is low.
It is a gamble, but if there is a budget issue, they need to think about gambling.
Chris Davis has regressed alot, I wouldn’t pencil him in for having an MVP caliber season in 2015.
Nobody is doing that. I don’t understand why people are saying Davis needs to be amazing to justify losing Cruz? Do we not think Davis could maybe hit for a 120 wRC+ and play passable defense? That would be an incredible upgrade over what Davis provided in 2014.
To me, the Tigers are a team to seriously look at Nelson Cruz if Victor Martinez leaves. Otherwise, there is nobody else to back up Miguel Cabrera.
Have to agree about the need for another bat in DET but I think Martinez will be a cheaper and more productive option for the Tigers.
To a degree youre right but lets not forget the huge breakout year JD Martinez had.
Cabrera-V. Martinez-JD. Martinez was arguably the best 3-4-5 punch in the game in 2014.
Seems unlikely that VMART will be so expensive they would consider Cruz, who also looks to be expensive.
I hope Cruz jumps at the 15.3 offer and let the O’s sign other free agents that can help the team.
Really doubt that happens. Cruz can definitely land at least 3/45.
Love what Cruz did but if the Orioles got a draft pick out of this I would not be complaining.
I think 4/$70 is too much for somebody to pay. A few teams would like Cruz at 3/$50. The question then is, will somebody want him enough to spend that extra $20 million? With Victor Martinez also on the market? My guess is they will not. I’ll bet he spends much of the winter waiting for a big deal, like last time, and ends up doing a little better than 3/$50 when he realizes that’s where the market is. Still a helluva contract.
“In 2014, Cruz put up a career-worst BsR of -3.3, putting him somewhere between “below average” and “poor” on the basepaths.”
If he were a leadoff hitter I’d worry about that. His job is to drive in the faster guys already on base, and since only three players in baseball drove in more, I’d say he does his job better than most.
Does no one else care about his 3 month slump last season? His stat line is greatly boosted by his May. If you took that month away, it wouldn’t be very impressive.
If not for PED history with Cruz, I would take him over V-Mart this off-season. White Sox will end up with either Butler, V-Mart, or Cruz in 2015 and win the division. Cruz was great in playoffs for Rangers. A solid outfielder like Markakis along with a .300 hitter at 2nd. Let’s go White Sox