ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 17: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers rounds third base after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 17, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Nelson Cruz is in quite a conundrum.
The Texas Rangers free agent outfielder, coming off a 50-game PED suspension in 2013, is also coming off a career year. But there's still a lot of negative check marks on Cruz's resume, other than the PED usage. He's a health risk with chronic bad hamstrings, and he's a liability in the field, not to mention he's nearing the halfway point between age 30 and 40.
In other words, he's most likely on the verge of a career decline, which is unfortunate for Cruz since he's hitting his chance at a big deal and is the most accomplished power hitter on the free agent market.
And that deal, most likely, isn't coming. Not this year, and even if he signs a one-year deal and has a nice 2014, he'll be getting too old for a big deal.
Apparently, the free-spending Seattle Mariners are still showing interest in Cruz, who is asking for a four-year deal for $75 million. The Mariners have signed two power-hitting corner outfielders in Corey Hart and Logan Morrison, but they seem to be looking at Cruz to possibly serve as a primary designated hitter, possibly to replace Kendrys Morales.
The Rangers could also make a move on Cruz after he lowers his demands, which seems to be something that will be necessary, but all parties involved seem to think the Rangers aren't interested. But a one-year deal to help Cruz re-establish his value? Why not?
If the Rangers could get Cruz for a year for $12-$15 million, why wouldn't they do that? Maybe there's some resentment, understandably, that Cruz bailed on the team to accept his suspension instead of appealiing it. But it's a business, and Cruz did what anyone would've done in a contract year. Either way, he's still searching for a team, and as the days pass his price should start to come down, and it might be something to consider.