By John Delcos
Photo Credit: Getty Images
It is an oversimplification to suggest the New York Mets could have signed Nelson Cruz for the same $8 million the Orioles did, if not a little more. Especially when juxtaposed against the Chris Young signing for $7.25 million.
I was against the Young signing, but that had nothing to do with Cruz, whom I would have balked against because of his connection to PEDs and defensive liabilities.
The Mets signed Young prior to the Winter Meetings when the market was fresh. Cruz was signed after spring training had begun.
Don’t forget at the time the Mets were apprehensive about giving up a compensatory draft pick. They didn’t have to surrender a pick for Young.
The market has dwindled dramatically since they signed Young. GM Sandy Alderson, who initially suggested he might let things play out in the market, had no way of knowing Cruz would sign for what he did, especially when the early reports had him asking for $75 million over five years.
Signing a power-hitting outfielder was a primary need and Alderson rolled the dice with Young. His odds were more in his favor later with Curtis Granderson.
But, for Cruz, who would have guessed this?
Maybe had the Mets re-visited Cruz with a low-ball offer, he could have signed with them, but the feeling is it wouldn’t have been a good fit because of the PED issue.
And, had they inked both Young and Cruz to one-year deals, the odds are good they would have needed to shop again for outfielders next winter.
As for Cruz, this is the best thing that could happen to him because it affords him an opportunity to put up monster numbers in bandbox Camden Yards and try free agency against next year.
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***John Delcos has covered Major League Baseball for over 20 years, including the Mets and Yankees since 1998. He is a Hall of Fame voter and owns and operates a Mets website, New York Mets Report.com.