Baltimore Orioles: No Nelson Cruz, No Problem


Apr 6, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) hits an RBI double in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In what may be a less than fully popular post, I will go on record as saying that I do not view the loss of Nelson Cruz to the Seattle Mariners for four years in the upper $50 millions as a big problem for the Baltimore Orioles.

Before I continue, let me make the following perfunctory disclaimer list:

  • I do not think that Nelson Cruz is a bad ballplayer. On the contrary, I think he is very good, though I would request readers to pull back from their emotional attachment and focus upon a single number – the number 40 – and to consider some broader statistics.
  • I do not doubt that Nelson Cruz would be an asset on the 2015 Baltimore Orioles, maybe even in 2016 as well.
  • I do not have a dislike for Nelson Cruz or aversion to him because of the PED past. In fact, I think he is a super great guy, and I’m good with the mistakes of the past remaining buried where they belong – in the past.
  • I am not unappreciative of his 2014 contributions. He rightly deserves the affections of Orioles fans forever for his significant role in the victories and successes of the 2014 Orioles.

Since we are having so much fun making lists, how about I go ahead and list why the sun will come up again tomorrow morning in Orioleland.

A big domino has fallen, and now others will be able to fall more easily toward a resolution of corner outfield and DH decisions the Orioles must make. This may move us more easily closer to a signing of Nick Markakis; or in absence of that, perhaps a deal with Melky Cabrera, Torii Hunter … not to mention getting Delmon Young back with the club.

  • It is a very good day for the Baltimore Orioles that they are not saddled with a four-year contract of this size for this individual. There is the factor of his age, along with the fact that 2014 was the only year he hit 40 home runs, with 2009 being the closest when he drilled 33 for the Rangers.
  • Though Cruz hit well in April, May and September (.xxx with 25 home runs), for the three months of June, July and August his average was a mere .214 (65-for-304) with 15 home runs. If this sort of extended slump was a part of his best season ever, what might be expected in his aging seasons that are approaching? These periods are likely to be more common.
  • This was not a matter of Angelos / Duquette being cheap or sitting too long on the sidelines. This was a wise choice of leaving the checkbook in the vest pocket in order to bring it out more judiciously with shorter and/or less expensive contracts with a better guaranteed outcome (if there is such a thing). But there is no way the Orioles can afford another Ubaldo-demise.
  • The Birds still have a formidable lineup with the hopeful enhancements of a healed-up Manny Machado and Matt Wieters, and hopefully a revived Chris Davis.

And finally, this tweet from MASN’s Steve Melewski says a lot …