Several general managers believe that a one-year deal may be best for free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz as the general feeling among teams is that the 33-year old “needs to reestablish his value” says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
If Cruz were to consider such a deal, Cafardo says it could “open more opportunities for him” with clubs such as the Mariners, Mets, Blue Jays, Orioles and others.
When I spoke to Sandy Alderson in December, he said that the team had met with Cruz’s agent, Mitch Frankel, and ‘conversations’ regarding the two-time All-Star did occur. Frankel however, also represents Bartolo Colon, and after speaking with Alderson about both of his clients, their meetings obviously became more focused on the 2005 AL Cy Young award winner, who signed a 2-year, $20 million deal with New York on December 14th, rather than Cruz.
Cruz, who was suspended for 50-games due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, hit .266 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 413 at-bats last season with Texas.
After splurging on Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, one would think that the Mets were finished addressing the outfield as they have a limited remaining budget to improve several other areas of need. I don’t see it happening with the Mets and Cruz unless he were to take a huge pay cut.
These types of one-year ‘pillow contracts’ as Cafardo calls it, however, have worked well in the past for big-time players who have entered free agency looking to rebound.
In January of 2010, Adrian Beltre signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Redsox after a poor showing in his final season with Seattle. Beltre went on to have one of the best years of his career, posting a .321/.361/.553 line; enough of an improvement to land him $80 million dollars over five years with the Texas Rangers. Other recent examples include Mike Napoli as well as Marlon Byrd last year with the Amazin’s.
The market for outfielders has severely diminished; the high-rolling teams have mostly filled their needs in that department. As Cafardo and the GMs he spoke to said, it may be in Cruz’s best interest to take a one-year contract and start this whole process again next winter.