February 22, 2014

Cruz to Orioles: Price is at least halfway right

So, the Baltimore Orioles, continuing to play small ball in the free agent world, have signed former Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz on the easy terms of one year for $8 million and incentives change.

Yeah, it's nice to get him on the cheap, and boy, his stock has fallen, eh? But, if you're paying the draft choice price, shouldn't you at a minimum try to have an option year, not a straight one year? Even if that pick is a second-rounder?

From the team's point of view, not getting a team, or a mutual, option on a second year seems unwise also, beyond the comp pick issue. One-year free agents don't lend themselves to team stability. With Cruz, he'll surely have a bigger drop-off some point in the future, but I think he has two decent years in him, and that second year, whether straight or an option, could have been more incentive laced, perhaps with vesting options or something.

Anyway, beyond Cruz, this kind of "slots" Kendrys Morales, too, doesn't it? I'd be more likely to give him a second year, but, at best, is he looking at 3/$35, and that's if he will commit to a 3-yr deal. If a team like Baltimore would only lose an inter-round, or even just a second round pick up him, he could fall to what, 1/$11 or something?

I think this has spill to the pitching market, too. Ervin Santana and his agent need to start reading tea leaves. Could he wind up going back to the Angels? With Mark Mulder not an option, a cheap Santana would firm up their roster. Or, maybe Jon Daniels takes a cheap flier over Matt Harrison worries?

Finally, with this move plus the Ubaldo Jimenez signing, the Orioles, especially if they get the late 2013 Jimenez, are definitely somewhere "in the mix" in the AL East now.

No comments: