Baltimore Orioles: Nelson Cruz among 12 with Qualifying Offers


Oct 9, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz during workouts the day before game one of the 2014 ALCS against the Kansas City Royals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles offered LF/DH Nelson Cruz a $15.3-million qualifying offer before the 5:00 deadline on Monday. Cruz is one of 12 players in MLB this year to receive this offer, three more than a year ago.

Here are the 12 players with QOs this year:

The story is now well known how Cruz turned down the $14.1-million offer in 2013, only to end up having to settle at the last moment for $8-million with the Baltimore Orioles. But a year removed from his 50-game suspension and with a MLB-leading 40-homer season, the current 34-year-old is in an entirely different situation than the last time around this block.

Other than Michael Cuddyer, or perhaps Francisco Liriano, it is difficult to imagine any of the 12 accepting the one-year offer. So the teams for whom they played will receive a compensatory first-round draft pick from the signing organization, just as the Orioles gave up selections for signing Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Players are of course looking for longer deals of multiple years, perhaps often at less than the current offer number per season, but with guarantees of cumulative dollars over a period of time.

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  • In the case of Cruz, he is hoping for a four to five-year deal, which is a bit scary for teams given his advancing years and somewhat limited defensive skills. As much as he is loved now in Baltimore, the O’s are only likely to do a deal if it is two or three years at the most. So, again it may come down to a late offseason decision if Cruz is unable to secure a contract elsewhere. I don’t know if anyone really has a great sense of how to handicap these odds. It seems to me that it will simply have to play out naturally to see what eventuates.

    Most of us out here in the real world really struggle with seeing and hearing these numbers and watching players turn down huge sums in the search for larger contracts. Even Cruz’ lousy salary of only $8-million, losing $6.1-million of what he could have made, is simply huge. Most of us will not make in a lifetime what these guys pull down in a poor season. But it must look a lot different on the inside, fighting even for the principle of being paid in an appropriately commensurate level relative to players with similar skills and production.

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    What would you do if you are Nelson Cruz? Would you hold out for a big deal, even if it meant another long and uncertain offseason? The risk is that even the Baltimore Orioles might tire of waiting and spend resources elsewhere. Or would you see what deal you could quickly get, and if nothing large looked possible, run to accept a lesser/shorter offer from the Birds?