The rumor that just won’t go away.
When Nelson Cruz was first mentioned in connection with the Athletics earlier this month, I paid it no mind. It all seemed too comical and farfetched. To be honest I couldn’t foresee a valid scenario where the noted PED offender would join his former divisional opponents. Further confirmation was only corroborated when reports out of Cruz’s camp, had the 33-year old in search of a four-year deal for upwards of $75 mm. Let that sink in for a moment…yikes.
So imagine my surprise when such reputable sources as our own Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea, cited that maybe there’s some truth to be found in Oakland’s interest in the slugger.
With Jhonny Peralta‘s $50 mm contract effectively squashing the notion that previously suspended players would have difficulty finding sufficient financial reward, it stands to reason that Cruz may receive the exorbitant salary he’s reaching for or something very close to it. Thus far, the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets have been linked in the press to Cruz alongside Oakland, and though both may have deeper pockets neither have contended in recent seasons and may not in 2014. Whether Cruz and his representatives take this into consideration or not, may be a subject of interest to Billy Beane and his associates.
Perhaps there lies a train of thought that Cruz can be sold on a short-term deal; a chance to play for a winner while still being able to enter the market shortly after his 35th birthday. After all Cruz’s suspension limited him to just 109 games played last season, where he still managed a .266/.327/.506 batting line with 27 home runs in just 456 plate appearance. Convincing him that he could only amplify his value with a strong full season or two in Oakland is a gamble that the Athletics may be willing to roll the dice on. Would he accept? That’s an answer only the future can tell us.
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