Signing Nelson Cruz: It’s only money

Today it was announced the Mariners will sign Nelson Cruz to a $58 million four year deal. Though there’s been a bit less ink spilled on this signing than the Josh Donaldson trade, make no mistake this is an important deal for the Mariners.  Cruz could be the right-handed bat the Mariners have coveted. Or he could be a gigantic disappointment.  Cruz could tip over into the old-guy regression abyss well before his contract ends.  Of course lots of folks wanted the M’s to sign Victor Martinez, and he was lots older (in baseball terms.)

Some things to consider:

  • Cruz recently turned 34.  The last right handed thumper the Mariners hand was Richie Sexson. He fell off the cliff in 2007 at age 32.  His last game was at 33 years old.
  • The home run tracker below shows Nelson Cruz can muscle the ball out of Safeco Field. But does he have enough psionic ability to break the Safeco Field curse on right handers?

Nelson Cruz home runs

  • Can Cruz catch a salmon tossed at Pike Place Fish Market with a bit more alacrity than he did in the outfield? Though it’s likely he’ll make occasional forays to the outfield (just to keep his hand in) we’ll all be happier seeing his name in the DH spot.
  • Last February Robinson Cano lobbied the Mariners to sign Nelson Cruz. “I wish we had Nelson here,” said Cano. Do you suppose he’s chipping in for his buy-out fund for years three and four?
  • Does signing Nelson Cruz for a pile of cash beat the idea of trading Taijuan Walker for Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, Matt Kemp or Yoenis Cespedes?  You bet it does.

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