Did O’s Learn from Mistake of Letting Nelson Cruz Walk?

cruz pointing at fans while running bases after homerun

Mark Trumbo agreed on a three year, $37.5M deal with the Orioles on Thursday evening, and it was made official today. Most of Birdland rejoiced that last year’s MLB home run leader would be back and fill the designated hitter spot. However, many fans questioned why the front office didn’t make this type of move three years ago.

[Related: Knee-Jerk Reactions – O’s Trumbo Agree on 3-Year Deal]

Nelson Cruz signed with the Orioles in 2014 and enjoyed one of his best seasons, leading MLB with 40 home runs. The former Ranger was only on a one-year deal with the team and looked to cash in on his huge season.

It was reported the Baltimore front office wanted to bring Cruz back, but that they weren’t willing to give the slugger the four-year deal that he wanted. This resulted in Cruz taking a four-year, $57M deal with the Mariners. Baltimore also lost Nick Markakis that offseason. To replace those guys, they went with Delmon Young and Travis Snider.

So why did the Orioles choose to pay Trumbo this time around?

The opinion here is that it’s because these are two different contract scenarios.

Cruz was 34-years-old when he hit the market and the Orioles have always been weary of giving aging veterans a long-term contract. He had also just come off his best season, hitting seven more home runs than his previous season-best back in 2009. It was hard to image than that Cruz would be able to sustain those numbers at an age when hitters normally see their numbers dip.

The Orioles were also caught up in a numbers game, knowing that Chris Davis was going to be a free agent the following season.  It would have been harder to bring back Crush if the Orioles had given Cruz the money he wanted. That would have been a lot of money locked up for both power hitters, a fact that was likely on Dan Duquette’s mind.

Trumbo’s deal is more team-friendly. He’s only 31, and will hit the free agency once again at 34-years-old, which is when Cruz hit the market two years ago. He doesn’t offer much in the field, but $12.5M is also pretty affordable for a player who’s still in his prime years and could lead the MLB in home runs again. The front office did a good job in letting his market play out and getting his asking price to go down significantly. It also helps that the deal doesn’t affect the payroll significantly for more than three seasons (portions of Trumbo’s new deal will be paid over longer than the next three years), since the team still has to discuss extensions with other key players in the near future.

It’s easy to say the Orioles weren’t smart for letting Cruz walk, after seeing the type of production he’s had with the Mariners. However, hindsight is always 20/20 and Cruz has defied expectations.

Just be happy that the team was able to bring back Trumbo on a relatively team-friendly deal.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Tyler Beard. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tyler Beard

Tyler Beard
I'm Tyler Beard and I'm a Mass. Comm. major on the Journalism track at Towson University. I'm from Bel Air, Maryland and I've been a huge Orioles, Ravens and Terps fan my whole life. I've always had a passion for writing ever since I was younger and I love talking...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Hot off the street

Series Preview: Orioles (5-14) vs. Indians (9-7)
Series Preview: Orioles (5-14) vs. Indians (9-7)

After getting blanked in the win column during their stay in the Motor City, the Orioles hope to turn things around over a four-game set against the Cleveland Indians beginning Friday at Camden Yards....read more

Friday’s O’s Links – Not Great!
Friday’s O’s Links – Not Great!

It was quite a rough road trip for the Birds, as they weren't able to cobble together even a single win in six tries in Boston and Detroit. Getting swept in Fenway by the red-hot Red Sox? Ok, sure - n...read more

Thursday Thoughts: Orioles in the Twilight Zone
Thursday Thoughts: Orioles in the Twilight Zone

This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. As of last year, I cut it down to four or five, so consider it the Ear...read more

O’s Well Represented Among Worst AL Players So Far
O’s Well Represented Among Worst AL Players So Far

Looking for an uplifting article to give you hope for the remainder of 2018? SPOILER ALERT, turn away now this piece is not for you. The futility that this team displays on a nightly basis can partial...read more

Series Preview: Orioles (5-11) @ Tigers (4-9)
Series Preview: Orioles (5-11) @ Tigers (4-9)

After getting swept out of Fenway, the Orioles will now look to recover and pick up a few much-needed wins against a slumping Tigers squad over the next three games in Detroit. The Orioles (5-11) h...read more

View More