Where there's smoke, there's fire.
With the amount of rumors connecting the Seattle Mariners and free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz this winter, it seems as if it's a matter of when and not if the slugger is going to the Pacific Northwest. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe offered the latest update on Cruz and the Mariners.
We reported last week about the Mariners’ interest in the former Rangers slugger, and that has not waned. The number of years is still the sticking point, but the Mariners believe they need another big righthanded bat to complete their team and have been willing to go where no other team has ventured throughout the offseason with Cruz — possibly two years and an option for a third. The Mariners have always had to overbid for free agents because of their location and this is a prime example.
For Seattle, it might not be an ideal situation to pay top dollar for Cruz, but the team needs to do something to help out the offense. Signing prized second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million deal won't mean much in 2014 if he doesn't get some help from his supporting cast.
After losing Raul Ibanez via free agency and with Kendrys Morales still testing the market, the team has responded by adding injury prone outfielder/first basemen-types in Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. That's probably not going to get it done.
In Cruz, they would be getting a bona fide slugger who's batted .272/.331/.511 with yearly averages of 27 HRs and 81 RBI since 2009. But at the age of 33 and coming off of a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, Cruz isn't at the ideal stage of his career.
Still, he offers the Mariners the best remaining option to help solidify the offense, and I think both sides eventually come to terms here, keeping Cruz in the AL West where he's played his entire career with the Texas Rangers.