During one of several radio interviews yesterday, somebody asked me if I thought this was a “great” move for the Mariners.
I kind of paused for a moment. And then said, it’s “an understandable move.” For some reason, there is a need to determine whether a signing/trade is good, bad, awful, great, a mistake, a steal, a winner, a loser and any other descriptor in the moments after it happened. A day later, I’m pretty indifferent. The signing of Cruz has its red flags and also has its perceived benefits. In the end, it was a move that Seattle made for understandable reasons.
Nelson Cruz is 34. He’s getting older. And that usually isn’t a good thing for sluggers. His power numbers will likely decrease. The odds of him putting up 40 homers and a .859 OPS having to play 81 games in Safeco Field and nine games at O.co Coliseum and Angels Stadium. Though I don’t know if the regression will be quite as dramatic as some people seem to think. He isn’t a great defensive outfielder and should probably DH 80 percent of the time, which could help offset some of the injury issues he’s dealt with in the past.
Still, he makes the lineup better. How much? You can try and project his WAR through ZIPS and Steamer and estimate how many wins he’ll be worth. And that’s fine. Some of the projections aren’t favorable.
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Any production will be an improvement.
They received the least amount of production from the designated hitter spot in the American League. The combination of Corey Hart, Kendrys Morales and others combined to post a .191/ .266/.301 slash line in that spot.
Cruz on his worst day should provide more than that.
But it was a necessary move. The Mariners needed another bat, left, right or cross-handed. He fits their need. They didn’t have to give up Taijuan Walker or James Paxton to get him. And really the money isn’t prohibitive. If it was 4-years, $75-80 million, then that’s a concern. But $58 million isn’t a crippling investment.
Will he be worth the money in his final year of his contract? No. Neither will Felix Hernandez or Robinson Cano. That’s the price of poker these days.
The window for a playoff run is about 3-4 years for the Mariners at the most based on the current roster, natural regression and prospects they have in Class AAA and Class AA. This helps them in that window.
It’s a move that provides some credibility to a fanbase that was re-energized with last season’s success. To not capitalize on that would be foolish and a disservice to them.
It’s a weird scenario. There’s a group clamoring for the M’s to spend money. And there’s another group upset that they spent the money on Cruz. To me, it made sense for them to do it. The parameters aren’t ideal. But this is the world the Mariners live in and getting a hitter to come to Seattle costs them more than other teams.
What people are saying ….
Scott Weber of Lookout Landing offers his thoughts on the signing.
Andrew Rice also of Lookout Landing looks at the idea of aging sluggers
And Colin O’Keefe also chimes in with his own personal thoughts on Cruz
Neil Weinberg of Beyond the Boxscore writes that the signing was inevitable and understandable.
Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles is not a fan of the signing. And writes why it’s a mistake.
Keith Law of ESPN Insider writes that the Mariners overextended on Cruz.
This site – Numberfire – thinks it’s a bad signing.
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