Mariners and Nelson Cruz agreed to deal last year but ownership backed away
Nelson Cruz has been one of the best hitters in the American League throughout the season and has helped carry the Baltimore Orioles to the ALCS. The Seattle Mariners missed the playoffs by a game and, Friday, one writer wondered how they would have done if they had signed Cruz.
According to The Tacoma News Tribune’s Bob Dutton, the Mariners and Cruz had agreed to a one-year, $7.5 million deal last year with a $9 million team option for 2015. However, ownership backed away from the deal because of concerns over how Cruz would respond following his involvement with Biogenesis and 50-game suspension last year.
Clearly we saw that Cruz had no trouble responding and, in fact, excelled despite the suspension. He led MLB with 40 home runs and was third in the AL with 108 RBIs. He is also tied for the AL postseason lead in batting average, homers and RBIs.
The Orioles reaped the benefits after signing him to a one-year, $8 million deal that he grossly outperformed. Now they’re trying to sign him to a long-term deal, but it sounds like Cruz will want to test free agency. Dutton reports that the Mariners will likely be interested in signing him.
What’s interesting to me about this is the reason ownership backed away. If they morally felt it was wrong to sign a cheater, I would have understood that. But if they didn’t think he’d be successful because of the PEDs, then that just makes them poor evaluators. You can almost guarantee the contents of this report came from Seattle’s front office. It makes them appear smart to the fans for nearly getting a deal with a slugger and shifts the blame to ownership.
Forearm bash to Eye on Baseball