American League

Why The Mariners Should Not Sign Nelson Cruz


It’s very easy to look at Nelson Cruz‘s career stats and easily be impressed, but teams must be very careful when looking at Nelson Cruz this offseason. One team that needs to be extra careful is the Seattle Mariners.

The Seattle Mariners have surprised many this offseason by going all in after signing all-star second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, 240 million dollar contract, the third highest contract in Major League Baseball History. They have also added first basemen/outfielders Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. However, after all of these acquisitions, the Mariners’ lineup still feels a little bit weak, especially in a now extremely competitive American League West.

Originally on the Mariners’ radar were Outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo, but now that both of those players have signed elsewhere, the only big name free agent is Nelson Cruz. Cruz turned down the Rangers’ qualifying offer earlier this offseason and has stated that he wants a contract paying about 15 to 16 million dollars per season. The Mariners offered him just that when they offered a 5-year deal worth 75 million. Luckily for them, Nelson Cruz declined.

Nelson Cruz is coming off of a 50-game suspension for PED’s, so his true talent is really unclear. Additionally, Cruz is also one of the more injury prone players in the MLB, as he’s played over 130 games only one time in his career. Regardless of his suspension and injury history, Cruz still just isn’t what the Mariners need to improve their team.

Last season, the Mariners were dead last in the American League after hitting just .237, but they ranked second in home runs with 188. These stats clearly show that the Mariners need hitters who can get on base consistently, rather than just belt balls out of the park and enjoy 0-4’s every other day. Career wise, Nelson Cruz averages 32 home runs over 162 games, but posts an on base percentage of only .327. It also doesn’t help that he strikes out far more than the average American League Hitter.

Additionally, he has played almost his entire career in Arlington, a hitter’s park. Away from home, Cruz is only a career .242 hitter, and at Safeco, he is just a .238 hitter in 48 games played.

While the lineup still needs improvement, the area where the Mariners need to improve in the most is the Outfield. Each year the Mariners pitchers are hurt by lack of defense in the outfield, and it doesn’t look like it will be much better in 2014. After missing out on every center fielder available, the Mariners look like they will have to stick former second baseman Dustin Ackley in Center, while platooning Logan Morrison, Michael Saunders, and Corey Hart in Right and Left Field. Adding Nelson Cruz to the mix could only make the outfield one of the worst in major league history.

While his  advanced statistics like UZR and his ability to throw out runners going from first to third may show that he is a good defender, he defensive runs saved are well into the negatives.

Nelson Cruz’s best option was to accept the Rangers’ qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason and get a chance to win, but now that the team has signed Nelson Cruz and traded for Michael Choice, there does not seem to be room for him anymore. His asking price also seems far too high for other teams to take a chance on him coming off of this 50-game suspension. However, the Mariners are still interested in Cruz, so it will be interesting to see if they do make the mistake of overpaying him and giving him the chance to bust.

About Michael Dweck

Always like to talk baseball. Go Mariners.

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  • Onion

    Great analysis, Michael. Nice job.

  • JonJoe1959

    Ok, here goes. Now with this Latest PED thing, if/when Cruz gets Signed, it wouldn’t Surprise me if Curz’s next contract would be LESS or Equals present Texas Contract. Because, check me if I’m wrong. Cruz is/will be the First of the Most Recent “PED” big time free agent Player Signing? Cruz will be the “New Model” on signing Star PED users. With that being said, I can’t imagine a Pay Raise for Curz. For one thing, Big Money for Cruz will bring on Big Media full court press in their Club House. No GM/Owner wants to appear to Reward PED use or have a PED ball team. Therefor, in order for a Team to Spin/Sale forgiving pass PED use, a low bargin type contract will help teams sign a Star PED user with the Fan Base. Oh not to mention, it’s believed that performance falls off when a player Stops PED use.? With that being said, I really wonder if the Seattle Mariners actually offered Cruz a 5yr. 75mil. contract, or is it “Just Rumored”.. I’ve read the 75mil. Stories, however, none of the Rumored Stories” quoted anyone from the Mariners organization confirming the 75mil. Offer. I believe Cruz will sign 16 to 28mil. 2-3yr. deal loaded with performance clause(s)..

    • BaseballExpert

      Johnny Peralta. And he got huge money from St.Louis.

      • JonJoe1959

        Just checked and you’re “Right”, also Colon resigned and got pay increase. Hell for this kind of money why not do Steroids.

  • Benjamin Isaac Davis

    Great article for such a young writer. Some criticism if you will. ALWAYS check you’re facts by listing you’re sources(like Per: such and such). It lends TONS of credibility to whatever you are writing about. If you had of checked, then you’d know that Seattle never actually offered Cruz a 5-year deal. The GM has come out publicly and said that that is a false rumor. So if you’re gonna put that information in you’re article, make sure you list what source you’re actually getting that from instead of stating it just as fact. Good job though. Was an interesting piece.

    • Michael Dweck


  • Benjamin Isaac Davis

    And furthermore, Cruz’ OBP isn’t worth the draft pick.

    • Michael Dweck

      I believe that the Mariners have a protected pick regardless.

      • Mr Right Brain

        Thier first round is, not their second round. I think…..

  • Fran

    Hey man, I admire your spirit and encourage you to keep writing. You forgot that the Mariners just signed Franklin Gutierrez when talking about a lack of defense in CF, and he’s one of the best. Keep at it.

    • Michael Dweck

      I’ve always loved Guti, he just can’t be counted on to play every day. He will be the fourth outfielder.

  • Skymaster T

    It would be stupid for the Mariners to start Ackley in center. He’s not a very good outfielder and has little to no power and has a career OPS of .669. What am I missing here? Saunders is a better option. Better bat, better glove.

    • Michael Dweck

      Saunders is nothing much either, but Ackley’s second half has people talking about him again.

  • Skymaster T

    Oh, and that supposed contract offer of 5/75 was just a rumor and speculation. I don’t think they would offer that any years for a PED guy. At least I would hope not.