The Rangers come back to Arlington after a 7-4 road trip during which they did a lot of things right, only to be reminded of something they’ve done very wrong.
Last year it was former Ranger Chris Davis who slugged the Baltimore Orioles into playoff contention with a baseball-best 53 homers and 138 RBI. This year another former Ranger is helping the O’s, while haunting his former team.
Nelson Cruz ring a bell?
It’s not that Cruz has directly punctured the Rangers, as Tuesday night is the first meeting between the teams this season. But when you look at what Cruz has done in Baltimore and what his replacements here haven’t done, well, ouch. It’s pretty simple: Cruz leads the Major Leagues with 20 homers and 52 RBI; No Ranger has more than six homers (Shin-Soo Choo) or 29 RBI (Alex Rios).
Considering Prince Fielder’s short-circuited season, Cruz would look very appealing in the Rangers’ lineup. And to think, they gave him away. For absolutely nothing.
Cruz, now 33, came to the Rangers in 2006 in the Carlos Lee trade. He struggled, eventually cleared waivers but made the most of a second and even third chance to be a consistent source of power in Texas’ championship lineups. He averaged 27 homers and 81 RBI during a five-year run before last season getting suspended 50 games for his part in the BioGenesis drug scandal.
With his contract up, general manager Jon Daniels decided to pursue other options and when Soo Choo held up his new jersey No. 17 at his December press conference it became evident that Cruz was kaput. The Orioles signed Cruz almost as an afterthought – a one-year, $8 million deal inked just before Spring Training in late February.
With Cruz putting up MVP offensive numbers and the Rangers struggling to stay around .500 with a slew of injuries that has depleted their offense, letting Cruz walk for nada looks ridiculously hideous.
Cruz will always be remembered in Texas for the catch he didn’t make in deep right field in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. Here’s hoping he doesn’t make the Rangers regret all the homers he hits away from Arlington.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.