Multiple reports are saying that Nelson Cruz is close to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles.
The deal could be worth more if Cruz meets certain incentives, but it would be a steep pay cut from what the former Texas Rangers outfielder had been expecting to land. Cruz turned down a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Rangers early in the off-season.
That means the Rangers will receive draft-pick compensation for Cruz, if the Orioles deal becomes official. The pick would likely be in the 30-34 range in this year’s First-Year Player Draft.
“They’re getting a power bat, getting a guy that can drive in some big runs and getting a guy who loves to play baseball,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Good luck Nelson.”
The Rangers had maintained contact with Cruz’s agent, Adam Katz, throughout the off-season, but always expected Cruz to sign elsewhere. They gave Cruz’s old jersey number, 17, to Shin-Soo Choo.
Mitch Moreland wasn’t following Cruz’s market closely and never wondered about his future should Cruz have re-signed with the Rangers. Moreland is going into this season as the part-time designated hitter, along with backup outfielder and first baseman.
“I’m going to go out and try to play my game,” Moreland said. “Nellie is a great teammate and every team would want to have a guy like that in the clubhouse. He’s a great guy and a great player. I hope the best for him.”