When the Texas Rangers officially announced the addition of free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo during a press conference, and they slid on the jersey with the number 17 on it, it was supposed to signal the end of the relationship between the Rangers and Nelson Cruz.
Through his entire free agency, the rumor among the baseball world was Cruz and his agent were searching for a five-year deal but there wasn’t a team out there willing to give it to him, unless you believe this particular rumor.
With teams now reporting to their spring training homes in Arizona and Florida respectively, Cruz has to be wondering if he’s ever going to get a contract offer from anyone before the 2014 season gets underway.
There was a report early on that he had turned down a two-year offer from a certain team, but only speculation remains as to who that team was, and why Cruz turned it down. Was it over money or did Cruz really think he would find a five-year offer from someone? With the month of February more than half over, and teams getting closer to opening up their spring game schedule, is it in the best interest of the free agent outfielder to sign a one or two-year offer?
I’ll take it one step further than that. Would it be in the best interest of the Texas Rangers to sign Cruz to a one-year deal? The answer to that has to be a resounding YES, unless they don’t want the media attention due to the outfielder’s suspension at the end of last season. Aside from that, would they be worried about his numbers falling off if they really were drug or steroid enhanced?
Right now, the Rangers seem to be just fine going with Mitch Moreland as their full time designated hitter. Not only that, but Cruz seems to not be willing to play the role of the full time DH, believing he can still be a productive outfielder with some team in the big leagues. That mindset alone may keep the Rangers from even approaching him or his agent, not to say they haven’t already, about coming back to Texas on a one-year deal.
How long will Cruz hold out until he’s forced to take the best deal offered to him? That might be, no pun intended, the million dollar question.