Nelson Cruz Might Happen While I Write This

Jeff Sullivan · February 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

He might take his physical while you read this. He might let a ball get over his head while you share this on Facebook. Bob Dutton says he keeps hearing it’s a matter of time before Cruz ends up with the Mariners, and I imagine we all have the same sense. Nelson Cruz isn’t a Mariner yet, to my knowledge, but we’re already a lot of the way along the path to dealing with it. By the time there’s word, actual, official word, it might make nary a ripple, at least within our spheres on the Internet. This is one of the consequences of Twitter, and a media landscape worshiping the deity of content generation. Another consequence is a burning, intensifying desire to disconnect yourself and live in the woods. Let’s all build a cabin in the woods.

Why is this almost certainly going to happen? I need to leave myself an out, because there is some chance Cruz goes elsewhere, but you can think it right through and you keep stumbling to Seattle in the end. Cruz’s market isn’t big enough for him to pick favorites and pick other places he doesn’t want to go to. If he were truly in demand, he could identify cities he’d like to live in, successful organizations he’d like to play in, hitter-friendly ballparks he’d like to hit in. As is, Cruz isn’t Masahiro Tanaka, and as much as he might like it in Texas, it seems like the Rangers are only willing to give a year and some millions. Cruz should be reduced to having to take the best offer that presents itself.

We know that the Mariners have more money to spend, and we know that they’re trying to demonstrate their intention of competing in 2014. We know they like Cruz because they’ve talked about Cruz by name. We know the Mariners could fit him into the lineup, and we know the Mariners value players of Cruz’s type even just based on the way they hyped up Michael Morse a season ago. The Mariners are likely to like Cruz’s upsides. Other front offices are more likely to dislike Cruz’s downsides.

The Orioles are also looking for help, and the Orioles also have a little money to spend, but they currently seem focused on starting pitching and they’ve had positive things to say about David Lough, and specifically his defense. If the Orioles were to sign Cruz, it would probably be to have him as a DH. The Mariners could offer more playing time in the outfield, and if Cruz is anything like most of his peers, he doesn’t want to be a DH yet, even if he doesn’t run like he used to. Players like playing, and in Seattle Cruz could do more playing.

It wouldn’t do Cruz a lot of good to settle for one year. I mean, if he really doesn’t want to play for Seattle, he could just go back to Texas, but it’s not like his market would be any better in December. He ought to end up accepting a short multi-year contract, and we’ve already heard the Mariners are pretty comfortable with two years and maybe a third-year option. By this point Cruz understands he’s not coming close to his initial demands. He’s just about out of leverage, and the Mariners, if I had to guess, are just waiting for him to come down to wherever their level is. Theirs is probably still going to be the highest level. It’ll be significant, but short of something massive. Maybe even something only a little more pricey than the Fernando Rodney contract.

A bunch of people have asked me on Twitter if signing Cruz would make the Mariners contenders. The answer depends on what you think of the Mariners now, because Cruz barely changes them. Maybe he’d make them, I don’t know, a win better. Maybe less than that! There’s nowhere that a win is the difference between a contender and a non-contender. It’s all just math, and Cruz would turn some of the numbers into slightly bigger numbers. The M’s would probably still be worse than the A’s, the Rangers, and the Angels, but the gaps aren’t enormous. The division is winnable, the playoffs are achievable.

The trickiest part might be sorting out the Mariners’ roster post-Cruz, assuming Cruz happens. You could put Cruz in a corner and split 1B/DH between Justin Smoak, Corey Hart, and Logan Morrison. You could put Cruz in a corner and still give the other corner to Morrison/Hart for some reason. There’s no way to make things great because no great plan involves Nelson Cruz at the core of it, but there would be decisions to make. Peter Gammons passed along the idea that the M’s could deal Smoak to the Pirates, because the Pirates could use a first-base upgrade, but Smoak might not even be an upgrade, and he certainly wouldn’t bring back great value. The Mariners gave up little to get Morrison. The Mets haven’t been able to turn Ike Davis into anything worthwhile. The Pirates might prefer a guy like Mike Carp, which is the kind of hilarious I don’t want to think about too much. And the Mariners keep hyping Smoak up, suggesting he’s got fans among the string-pullers. I don’t know the solution because I can’t put myself in the Mariners’ mindset and I’m more than a little proud of that.

Earlier in the offseason, I saw two inevitabilities: Bronson Arroyo would sign for too much with the Giants, and Nelson Cruz would sign for too much with the Mariners. Arroyo went to a different team, for a more reasonable amount of money. Cruz is going to end up with a more reasonable amount of money, too, but Seattle’s still looking inevitable. It didn’t happen while I was writing the first paragraph, here, but if you’ll excuse me, I need to check Twitter again. In a weird way, Nelson Cruz officially signing with the Mariners would bring me and all of us some closure.

Comments

51 Responses to “Nelson Cruz Might Happen While I Write This”

  1. ck on February 8th, 2014 4:49 pm

    If. If Cruz is in left field, he’ll be somewhat better defensively than Ibanez / Morse. If Cruz signs, Opening day M’s bench is Bloomquist, Buck, Morrison, Ackley. Only positive is he costs money, not players / prospects.

  2. Westside guy on February 8th, 2014 5:38 pm

    No, Ackley will be starting because That’s Zduriencik’s Way. Once the team signs Cruz, the starting outfield will be Hart, Ackley, and Cruz. It will suck, and in September we’ll have to listen to Z talk about how no one could’ve foreseen the problems with Cruz’s performance drop, how Ackley is still getting better in center field every day, and how it’s mystifying that the wonderful roster he put together could be on pace for 73 wins but we just need to be patient.

  3. bookbook on February 8th, 2014 6:20 pm

    So, Tacoma’s outfield is Morban, Almonte, Jones, Blash? What are the odds that’s better than the M’s outfield for 2014?

    It ain’t 0%, and I’ll concede it’s less than 50%.but if you forced me to say it’s less than a 25% chance, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that saying.

  4. evolvingcaveman on February 8th, 2014 6:45 pm

    Wouldn’t our outfield be Ackley, Saunders and Cruz with Gutierrez as the bench righty? Hart is the DH and LoMo does some of everything if Smoak stays.

    That doesn’t seem too horrible or did last year desensitize me. I think Hart has to show he’s healthy in spring training before they plan to put him in the field much.

    I wonder if Ackley, with a full spring training w/games solely as an outfielder will look improved out there come the regular season.

  5. roosevelt on February 8th, 2014 6:47 pm

    I am so hopeful that the M’s don’t sign 34 year old Cruz. Yes, they have money to spend, but does it have to be done stupidly??? History, is the best predictor or answer to that question.

  6. evolvingcaveman on February 8th, 2014 6:56 pm

    It would leave us a bench of Buck, Guti, LoMo and WillieB. A better bench then we’ve had in awhile but Franklin and Almonte wouldn’t make the 25 man in this scenario.

  7. stevemotivateir on February 8th, 2014 6:57 pm

    Wouldn’t it be funny if we assumed wrong, and that we see Ackley, Guti–or Almonte in the event of injury, and Saunders in the outfield, with Hart at 1B and Cruz DHing on opening day?

    That would still suck, though. Morales would more sense in that case, though I’m not advocating for either player.

  8. Westside guy on February 8th, 2014 8:55 pm

    Wouldn’t our outfield be Ackley, Saunders and Cruz with Gutierrez as the bench righty? Hart is the DH and LoMo does some of everything if Smoak stays.

    Saunders isn’t a Z guy. As we saw during the second half of 2013, Z’s guys will get precedence whether it makes sense or not.

  9. zak24 on February 8th, 2014 9:39 pm

    If we sign Cruz, he and Hart will share time at DH/RF. As long as the contract for Crus isn’t ridiculous, we can live with one bad outfielder. Ackley, and Saunders will occupy the other two outfield positions full time. Smoak will be traded to the Pirates and LoMo (1B vs RH) and Guti (RF w/ Hart at 1B vs LH) will platoon.

    Ackley will develop into a 3+ WAR player and a great leadoff hitter. Did anyone else notice the second half of last season when he was playing with more confidence? Had 1.4 WAR despite playing bad defense in the outfield.

    Ya’ll are haters. We’re not done, we’re not quite ready to contend, but we still have all of our young talent/trade bait and it’s all going to come together here pretty quick.

  10. jakeryan01 on February 8th, 2014 9:54 pm

    I like your optimism but Ackley turning into a 3 WAR player is a reach. I’d love to see it but I am going to remain emotionally closed to his development until he shows me more than a teaser.

    Boo on Cruz!

  11. MrZDevotee on February 8th, 2014 9:54 pm

    Zak,
    Thanks for chiming in with the final word… Do we have your permission to forward your thoughts to GMZ, just to make sure he’s on board, and has thought this through?

    Your Friend,
    Hater #9
    (snark)

  12. gopilots70 on February 8th, 2014 9:58 pm

    I agree with Caveman’s outfield lineup. And against lefties, Guti is in right with Saunders moving to LF. Cruz because the DH and Hart is the DH when Smoak continues his weakness against lefties.

    An outfield of Saunders, Guti and Ackley once or twice a week is pretty good.

    I think I still would rather Morales back and take our chances with Hart in RF 4 or 5 times a week.

    Same scenario here: Smoak sits again lefties, Morales to first and Hart at DH. Guti is in the OF.

    Don’t worry Westy, I think and hope if Saunders gets off to a hot start he will be in the outfield every day. I just hope that LoMo doesn’t hit 9 dingers in Spring Training to earn the job.

  13. zak24 on February 8th, 2014 10:52 pm

    MrZDevotee,
    If you don’t like my attempt to spread pro-zduriencik rhetoric, what’s with the handle?

  14. maqman on February 9th, 2014 1:38 am

    I’m forced to accept that GMZ just doesn’t know how to construct a roster and those above him haven’t figured that out yet either. Scouting Director was the limit to his abilities. It used to be In Jack I Trust, no more.

  15. LongDistance on February 9th, 2014 1:48 am

    Zak,

    If you’d been around here long enough you’d know that his devotion has evaporated over time, as it has for most of us. Anymore, his handle is more like a standing semi-comic memorial to something that, at one time, seemed like it might have been.

    I’ve been thinking about changing mine to: Raul!BatNight

  16. Woodcutta on February 9th, 2014 4:34 am

    So Paul Maholm just signed with the Dodgers and for a bargain basement price ($1.5 mil/1 year w/ incentives up to $6.5 mil). The way this FO goes about constructing a roster has gone from hopeful (first couple of drafts) to sad (Rauuuuuuulx5) to painfully comical. I swear they put a bunch of names on a dart board.

    @LongDistance,

    That is a great handle especially for this site. I’m thinking about changing mine to MonteroBobbleheadNight.

  17. stevemotivateir on February 9th, 2014 5:48 am

    As long as the contract for Crus isn’t ridiculous, we can live with one bad outfielder.

    Ackley hasn’t exactly established himself as a solid defender yet (in the outfield), though he’ll probably be OK in left.

    But what if Guti goes down? Suddenly, you have Saunders or Almonte (or Ackley) in center.

    Without Guti, which is likely at some point, we can very quickly end up with below average defense at all three positions.

  18. HighBrie on February 9th, 2014 6:40 am

    I like the idea of exploring a BJ Upton for Franklin (or even Ackley- if they’re stuck on Uggla) deal. We need a CF, and Upton can get on base and hit for occasional power. Mike Cameron Lite!

  19. PackBob on February 9th, 2014 7:24 am

    Put Cruz in a cabin out in the woods.

  20. stevemotivateir on February 9th, 2014 8:07 am

    Franklin for Upton? Really?!

    Upton’s batting line last season was as ugly as his contract. His defense isn’t elite, so I don’t know why you’d think he would be an upgrade. Chavez offers more for far less.

    Nothing wrong with keeping Franklin if Upton’s the best they could do.

  21. downwarddog on February 9th, 2014 8:31 am

    Zduriencik’s best moves are the ones he desperately wants to make, but comes up short on – like signing Josh Hamilton or trading for Justin Upton. Hopefully, we can add Nelson Cruz to this list.

  22. coreyjro on February 9th, 2014 9:52 am

    Call me crazy, but these don’t look horribly offensive.

    vs. RHP
    C – Zunino
    1B – Smoak
    2B – Cano
    3B – Seager
    SS – Miller
    LF – Saunders
    CF – Ackley
    RF – Cruz/Hart
    DH – Morrison

    vs. LHP
    C – Zunino
    1B – Hart
    2B – Cano
    3B – Seager
    SS – Miller
    LF – Ackley
    CF – Gutierrez
    RF – Saunders
    DH – Cruz

  23. hailcom on February 9th, 2014 10:23 am

    Cruz is a gamble, but at 2 years with an option, I think the gamble is far more manageable and the upside is better than I think most are assuming. Dave and others reasonably have been warning against giving Cruz anything close to what he was initially demanding, but that is not what is going to happen–if he does sign. Even one of the worst comps in Dave’s post http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-frightening-list-of-nelson-cruz-comparisons/ is not so awful when you shrink the period from 5 to 3 years. Erik Karros had +2.5 WAR over 3 years. Geronimo Berros still sucked but he was an outlier in that comparison, falling off a cliff at age 33 and only playing some 120 games total over the age 33-35 seasons with horrific defense. If you want some reason to hope, look at Cruz’s 2013 season with Texas. 27 HRs in 109 games. There was no home/away split of any note with actually a higher wRC+ away (127) v. home (117). His total wRC+ even with the PED suspension impact was 122 with a couple of months above 140. His defense has deteriorated though he is a better athlete than some seem to assume. He is not Raul Ibanez in the outfield unless he gets quite a bit worse. And he will not cost us Paxton or Franklin or, god forbid, Walker. So, I’m not upset at the prospect as long as it is 3 years or less for $10M or so per year. And he would add potential that not many are acknowledging. And, hell, it’s February so I permit myself hope…

  24. Chris_From_Bothell on February 9th, 2014 10:40 am

    My goodness, how different would these theoretical lineups look, and how different would the mood be, and how much would we be willing to put up with elsewhere in the roster, with just ONE competent defensive outfielder added to the starting lineup. I’ve been a proponent of, and still believe in, the principle that wins are wins and that one can make upgrades anywhere… the team overall would still benefit from a middle of the rotation starter, for example.

    But man, if only there was a true center fielder available in trade! I’d be a lot more willing to handwave the bags of recently repaired knees that would be upended over right field if Condor was the everyday left fielder and a 3-win center fielder was on the team. Instead of squinting at Ackley and pretending to see an outfielder. Or Condor being the only one able to run in the outfield. And don’t even mention Guti to me – he’s been through a lot and I don’t blame him one iota for the past few years, but his health means I can’t even put him in the ‘if everything goes right’ plan. I can’t believe he would be healthy for more than 7 minutes.

    Cruz doesn’t worry me because of his well-documented limitations. Cruz worries me because it is the signal that the front office is done shopping for outfielders, when they really shouldn’t be.

    I’m perfectly content with every infield permutation I’ve seen even the ones with Buck in them, even the WFB appearances (although obviously if WFB is starting more than once a week, either Lloyd is terrible or an actually good player is injured).

    But that outfield. It’s like playing a game of Jenga, and it still being your turn, and you have like 3 or 4 different blocks sort of hanging out and sort of not, and you’re tapping around to find what slides out yet trying not to topple it, yet it’s so wobbly…

  25. bfgboy on February 9th, 2014 12:06 pm

    So forgive the rosterbation invite, but is it just me or are the M’s overwhelmingly quiet on the starting pitcher front? Does anybody else think they are doing the quiet trade work thing in which they make a big acquisition on the QT? The Cubs and Jeff Samardzja seem to match up nicely. It just seems like the focus is not where it should be, and I wonder if there is a reason for it.

  26. californiamariner on February 9th, 2014 12:21 pm

    Remember when it was a foregone conclusion that Raul Ibanez would be back? I’d rather have Cruz on a 2 year deal than Ibanez. Finding the positives ha

  27. Westside guy on February 9th, 2014 12:55 pm

    I suspect Guti won’t be in center field much this year for the same reason he stayed in right field in August and September last year – the team thinks he has a better chance of staying healthy in the corner.

    CM, while I don’t like either option… you are right.

  28. Paul B on February 9th, 2014 1:54 pm

    Mike Morse 2012: .291-.321-.470 age 30

    Nelson Cruz 2013: .266-.327-.506 age 32

    Just sayin’.

  29. MrZDevotee on February 9th, 2014 2:06 pm

    bfgboy-
    I would think there has to be some talks going on for a pitcher… If Cruz signs, then on the surface, Ackley or Saunders might appear available (which wouldn’t surprise me if the team sees more upside in a Morban, or Almonte)…

    Franklin is already quite obviously available (given the money being paid to WF Bloomquist)…

    And Smoak too, as we’ve heard some interest from other clubs even recently (his name recognition evidently still outweighs his last 2 seasons of work– maybe a benefit of being a West Coast team whose games start at 10pm in the Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and D.C. markets).

  30. MrZDevotee on February 9th, 2014 2:10 pm

    CM/Westy-
    I’d rather have Cruz ONLY if we also have Ibanez… But Ibanez is only being paid to be a flexibility & conditioning consultant for any future post-30 signings, and maybe Montero too (since Raul seems to have the Foundain of Youth tapped into his refrigerator water).

  31. MrZDevotee on February 9th, 2014 2:17 pm

    Just read that Cruz is pretty much our’s, but the sticking point is years… He’s holding out for 4 years, while the M’s are holding at 2 years with an option for a 3rd (no idea if it’s a club or player option).

    So the wedding is set other than agreeing on the dowry.

  32. hailcom on February 9th, 2014 2:52 pm

    The comparison with Mike Morse is not crazy, but if the suggested conclusion is that Cruz is a Morse clone and will likely be as big a fail as Morse in 2013, I disagree. Morse is a similar hitter to Cruz, though not as good. He had been a significantly worse outfielder than Cruz in his 3 years between 2010-12. Then he got injured early in 2013 and never really recovered. If Morse had been his 2012 version, he would not have been great, but he would have been OK. If we get Cruz’s 2013 version, he will be a good addition, a decent hitter and not awful in the outfield–though obviously a modest liability there that undercuts some of his hitting value. I just don’t think the Ms are crazy for pursuing Cruz for a reasonable number of years and dollars.

  33. sp_da_man on February 9th, 2014 3:23 pm

    The longer E. Santana & Jimenez are still free agents I wonder if the M’s could shift their attention to them instead of Cruz.

    You’d have to think the Cruz deal is somewhere in the 2 YR/20-25 MIL with an option for a 3rd year.

    Could either of those two pitchers be had for a 3 YR/36 MIL type of deal? If it’s close to that I’d rather see the M’s pursue that & tell Cruz thanks but no thanks.

  34. Westside guy on February 9th, 2014 3:55 pm

    Any option year in a contract for Cruz is going to be a team option. A player option would be rather pointless – they might as well add that year onto the contract, in that case.

  35. stevemotivateir on February 9th, 2014 4:44 pm

    How they use Guti will be real interesting. I’m assuming he’ll be in more of a platoon role, and if that’s the case, they could have him in either center or RF vs. lefties.

    Personally, I’d like to see him platooned in RF (assuming they do sign Cruz), forcing Hart to cover 1B and Cruz to DH versus left handed pitching.

    Yes, that basically makes Saunders the every day center fielder. He’s better served in a corner, but this is what happens when you lack solid center field options.

    Keeping Guti healthy should be a priority.

  36. MrZDevotee on February 9th, 2014 4:46 pm

    Westy. True, I was plagarizing without considering the actual meaning of what I wrote. Guess that casts doubt on THAT rumor. *laugh* Maybe it means they were considering a 3 year “compromise” for not much more money than the total of a 2 year contract, and he can walk if he thinks he’s worth more in 2 years?

  37. Westside guy on February 9th, 2014 5:48 pm

    You could be right, MrZ. You know and I know that a 36-year-old player isn’t likely to perform well enough to earn a better contract than what he’ll get right now… but players always seem to think they’ll play well forever.

  38. Westside guy on February 9th, 2014 5:58 pm

    Practically speaking, Steve, I think Saunders probably is the best center field option they have (boy is that depressing – and you know I’m a fan of the Condor). Guti is probably not a good option, unless the team is willing to just run him out there until he breaks. But with the dearth of right-handed bats, I’m expecting them to do everything they can to keep Guti in the lineup and healthy – meaning he’ll be in the corner. Guti’s bat may be seen as more important than Guti’s glove, as odd as it sounds.

    Really, though, we have no idea what McLendan will do with the pieces Zduriencik provides. He sounds a bit more progressive than Wedge… but, before his first season here, Wedge didn’t sound like the guy we actually ended up watching either. And it’s possible the Mariners manager doesn’t have a completely free hand in the on field decisions.

  39. stevemotivateir on February 9th, 2014 6:33 pm

    Totally agree, Westy.

  40. MrZDevotee on February 9th, 2014 7:33 pm

    I would take a guess that McLendon has some sort of leeway or I doubt he would have agreed to the job. He’s sort of on his last hurrah as a manager, and if he DIDN’T get some sort of free reign on lineup choices, he was probably better off staying in Detroit, and winning.

    Even the Wedge/Baker article would seem to suggest if you wanted to bring an experienced guy to town he wasn’t gonna tie himself to other anchors in the organization and their ideas of what works.

    Hopefully (but the doubts are obvious) the M’s organization is at the point where (assuming what Wedge was saying was true) it’s time to let OTHER people decide how to field the team and use the players.

    I think it was skipped over pretty fast when it happened (because he’s an “inside” guy, meaning a “more of the same” tag), but in the first interview after being hired as the new president Mather just straight up said, “we’re not done making moves– we’ve got more money to spend”. This is a profound shift in how the club talks about what it’s doing from years past. I’ve never heard anyone in the front office say outloud (basically) “my job is to spend money on this team, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

    An excerpt that actually offers optimism, including his different idea on how to approach the budget (in 3 year windows, instead of year to year)…:

    *************************

    “Jack Zduriencik is in charge of the baseball department… I’m going to ask a lot of questions, I’m going to make sure he has considered all the up downs, left rights and talk to his people, because he has good people… But on the other side I am going to say, how can we help you? And I am going to tell him winning helps us. All boats rise if we win. I am just here to support.”

    Mather said that it was his responsibility as president to provide resources and coordinate the business side and the baseball side. Zduriencik told Mather that he needed the flexibility to have options at this point of the game. Mather told him he has that right now and he could have more in the years to come.

    Traditionally the Mariners have gone year to year with the payroll budget. Mather is lobbying for what he called a three-year rolling, working plan. Such a plan would enable a general manager to reach for additional funds when needed or to save for the future in a year where the free agent market isn’t strong.

    ****************

    There is a lot that seems fundamentally different in Mather’s words there. Is it just talk? I love the idea that if Jack saves money he can have that added the following year (this discourages going for the Hamilton splash, if it’s not really a good move, and encourages going ABOVE budget if a great move presents itself).

    And this line “Zduriencik told Mather that he needed the flexibility to have options at this point of the game” seems to suggest Z has had his own problems with Armstrong in the past, and hasn’t been free to build as he wished.

    This doesn’t necessarly have anything to do with Cruz, beyond I reread his interview, and was more enthused by it than even the first time I read it. In previous years it always felt like, if we did a move like adding Nelson Cruz, Hart, and Cano for two years, that we’ve shot our load for the next 2-3 years and if it doesn’t work, c’est la vie, and we’ll have to cut the budget next season… Doesn’t sound like Mather is that hamstrung/hogtied to bottomline dollars and cents.

  41. BlackHaloBender on February 9th, 2014 8:40 pm

    If we’re going to be the all-1b/dh team we should just bring in the fences dramatically to take advantage of it.

  42. Longgeorge1 on February 10th, 2014 9:09 am

    There is just one thing wrong with this team. It is not playing beer league slow pitch.

  43. qwerty on February 10th, 2014 3:44 pm

    Where’s the right place to ask for Emilio Bonifacio….Emilio > Endy.

  44. evolvingcaveman on February 10th, 2014 4:52 pm

    He’s owed 3.5 million by whoever picks him up and would be on a Major league deal and need to be put on the 40 man roster if I understand correctly. After that terrible batting line he had last season he’s not all that attractive.

    Endy is on a minor league deal and will be stashed at AAA and he plays the OF only so apples vs oranges. I would say WillieB and he are the two comparables.

    I’m also a fan of the talked about Mather 3 year revolving budget. It’s weird that it’s not already in place.

  45. LongDistance on February 11th, 2014 3:01 am

    Don’t usually double post but… just have a really creepy feeling Cruz is coming. And there’s nothing anyone can do or say to make it not happen. The Mariners are just determined to screw a third, non-functional hinge onto a door. As if that’s an improvement.

    I just don’t get it, pay a pile, lose a 4th round draft pick, for a guy whose game prep M.O. aligns (aligned) better in the McGwire era (and despite that, was only middling) and so who’ll most likely flame most of the time at plate in his own park, who might actually make Morse have seemed better than he was in RF, and who we’ll be stuck with for … I’m guessing … minimum three-years. Anything I missed there?

    OK. I don’t get it. I’m willing to assume there are really, really smart guys in the front office. They must be, because to go all in for Cruz, takes the ability to parse a mystery.

    * sigh *

    Just off loading in the face of what seems inevitable. Please, make it stop. And let the off season end.

  46. Rick L on February 11th, 2014 11:23 am

    Keep the draft pick. Keep the money. Let Cruz go somewhere else.

  47. Westside guy on February 12th, 2014 12:20 pm

    Crap. Just read that Iwakuma injured his finger and won’t be picking up a baseball for at least three weeks.

  48. californiamariner on February 12th, 2014 3:14 pm

    This could get ugly. Presumably going at least half of April with Walker or Baker as the #2 starter? If you don’t want to bring in Santana or Jimenez, at least bring in Capuano.

  49. dantheman on February 12th, 2014 3:41 pm

    “If we get Cruz’s 2013 version, he will be a good addition…”

    Including a 50 game suspension? Signing someone with Cruz’s history would say a lot about the moral integrity of the Mariners.

  50. stevemotivateir on February 12th, 2014 5:57 pm

    Iwakuma’s injury could yield good news:

    What if (yeah, a “what if”!) this shifts the focus from Cruz, to someone like Santana or Jimenez?

    Personally, I’d rather see Capuano inked, and a trade for a center fielder, but I’d rather see a slightly expensive started added than anyone named “Nelson”.

  51. MrZDevotee on February 12th, 2014 6:36 pm

    Steve-
    Another possible positive– More pitching opportunties for young guys. We know what Iwakuma can do, so without him in camp there’s one more opportunity for Major League experience in Spring Training for somebody who might not have gotten it otherwise.

    (Selling myself that the broken glass is still 1/4 full…)

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