It seemed like a near certainty that Nelson Cruz wouldn’t return to the Texas Rangers after the team signed Shin-Soo Choo to a huge free agent deal last weekend. The team seemed to cement that fate by giving Choo Cruz’s old jersey number — 17.
During the news conference to introduce Choo on Friday, Rangers GM Jon Daniels also said he called Cruz’s agent to express his thanks. Daniels said he expects Cruz, who was suspended 50 games last year for a PED violation, to sign elsewhere.
The Seattle Mariners are said to be a top contender to sign Cruz. Whoever signs the 33-year-old outfielder will have to surrender a draft pick as compensation, which surely limits his appeal. Cruz batted .268/.327/.495 last season with 27 home runs in 109 games.
The Rangers have lost Ian Kinsler and Cruz this offseason, but they’ve gained Prince Fielder and Choo. Not a bad winter for them.