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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Orioles and Nelson Cruz agree on contract


By on 2/22/2014 06:30:00 PM

The Baltimore Orioles finished the 2013 season with a record of 85-77.  Although the Orioles missed the playoffs, they were 5th in the league in runs scored, lead by Chris Davis and Adam Jones.  The team entered 2014 Spring Training with a solid group of core players, but after losing Nate McClouth and Nick Markakis coming off an average season, the Orioles were looking for another power hitter.  The Orioles may have found their man today, as sources say the Orioles and Nelson Cruz have agreed to a contact.



 Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons

As reported by Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, the Orioles and Cruz have agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract.  A source told ESPN.com that Cruz's deal includes $750,000 in incentives. If the deal is completed, Cruz would be the team's primary designated hitter, who could also play the outfield.

Earlier this month it was reported that according to one Major League source, there were four or five teams making a run at Cruz.  The Orioles and Mariners were top teams on the list for Cruz and it was possible that Cruz could re-sign with the Rangers.

The 33-year old Cruz is one of many free agents this off season who was hurt because they turned down qualifying offers from previous teams, meaning that the club signing them would lose a top draft pick. But the Orioles already relinquished their first-round pick earlier when they signed Ubaldo Jimenez. Therefore, signing Cruz only lost them a second-round pick.

Cruz was batting .266 with 27 home runs and 76 RBI last season before being suspended 50 games for ihs involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.  All told, it was the fifth consecutive season that Cruz had hit 20 or more home runs.

Cruz was drafted by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1998.  He has played all but eight of his 804 career games with the Texas Rangers.  The two-time All-Star has a career batting average of .268 with 157 home runs and 489 RBI. 


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