While I’m confused as to how the Rangers will use Mike Napoli, I was again reminded over the weekend that they should’ve kept Nelson Cruz.
Texas traded for Napoli, who hasn’t played catcher in three years and isn’t hitting left-handed pitching this season. Too bad they can’t recall another player from their glory days, because Cruz continues to be a transaction that haunts this franchise.
I know he misplayed David Freese’s fly ball that should’ve clinched the 2011 World Series in St. Louis, but Cruz’s power has been sorely missed in Arlington since he left.
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In 2013 he had 27 homers and 76 RBI, despite missing 50 games because of a Joint Drug Agreement suspension. After that season the Rangers let him walk into free agency, and he’s been hitting ever since.
In Baltimore last season Cruz led baseball with 40 homers and was 7th in the AL MVP voting. And this year he’s at it again, smacking his league-leading 33rd in Seattle’s 4-2 win over the Rangers Sunday. He’s hit in 19 consecutive games, batting .422 with 11 homers during the streak. He’s also among the AL leaders with a .325 average and 69 RBI.
Cruz homered in both of Seattle's wins as it took two of three from Texas over the weekend.
Said Mariners’ manager Lloyd McClendon of the former Ranger, “"I don't know where we'd be without him. He's hitting .370 with runners in scoring position. It's unbelievable what he's accomplished this year. It's almost jaw-dropping when you see his numbers.”
Jaw-dropping, yeah, and also irritating. While the Rangers scrape up Napoli in hopes of right-handed power, Cruz has almost twice as many homers at their leader, Prince Fielder.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.