BY SPNW Staff 09:32AM 12/01/2014

Report: Mariners, Cruz agree on $57 million deal

The Mariners and slugger Nelson Cruz, 34, have reportedly come to an agreement on a four-year, $57 million contract. He led MLB in homers in 2014.

Playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Nelson Cruz led the majors in home runs last year with 40. / Wiki Commons

Slugger Nelson Cruz, the only major leaguer to hit 40 home runs and drive in more than 100 runs in the past season, and the Mariners have agreed on a multi-year contract, according to an ESPN report. The Mariners will pay the 34-year-old Cruz $57 million over the next four years, a deal that includes a $1 million signing bonus.

Cruz, who led the majors in homers and finished third in RBIs in Baltimore, was paid $8 million by the Orioles. He was suspended for 50 games Aug. 5, 2013, for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal in which he used performance-enhancing drugs, which partially factored into the Mariners not pursuing him more actively last year.

Robinson Cano openly lobbied for the Mariners to sign Cruz during a spring training press conference in February.

Cruz is a three-time All-Star who holds major league records for home runs (6) and RBIs (13) in a postseason series (2011 ALCS).

Cruz should bring considerable thump to a Mariners offense that finished tied for 11th in the American League last year with 634 runs scored and ranked last among 15 clubs with a .676 OPS.

Cruz, who declined Baltimore’s qualifying offer of $15.3 million for one year, delivered his best performance of 2014 Sept. 7 against the Tampa Bay Rays when he drove in all of Baltimore’s runs in a 7-5, extra-inning victory. He batted .500 in the ALDS with two home runs and five RBI.

Before settling on Cruz as their right-handed power bat of choice, the Mariners reportedly were involved in trade discussions for Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes, among others.

The contract to Cruz marks the second major signing for Seattle this offseason. Last week, the club and third baseman Kyle Seager agreed on a seven-year, $100 million extension.

Cruz, who made his MLB debut Sept. 17, 2005 with the Milwaukee Brewers after signing as an amateur free agent with the New York Mets in 1998, played eight seasons in Texas before signing with Baltimore. He is a career .268/.328/.501 hitter with 197 home runs and 597 RBIs in 963 games. He made AL All-Star teams in 2009 and 2013-14, including last year as a DH.

Cruz is a native of the Dominican Republic.


  • Da Kid

    Too bad the gutless Jack Z didn’t pull the string
    on Cruz a year ago. If he had, Felix would have had at least 22 wins, the Cy Young and the
    M’s would have been in the playoffs.

  • GD

    Wow…AAV of $14.25m is a steal. I thought it was going to take an AAV of $17.5m

  • jafabian

    ESPN showed Cruz having a .167 BA at Safeco but a .412 OBP and a .417 slugging pct. So he should be able to at least give better protection for Cano than anyone from last season did. Hopefully with Seager and Zunino behind him that’ll help his BA. Jack needs to bring in a lefty bat now and maybe a lefty for the bullpen. A veteran #2 or #3 pitcher would be great also.

  • 1coolguy

    ROIDS from Biogenesis is why the guy had the best year ever last year and Jack Z doesn’t see a connection? WTF? He hits 40 homers @ 33? Hits 29, 24, 27 then 40 (FORTY)??? Come on Jack and Howard, pull your heads out.
    You had better call Biogenesis and find out how to detect their PED’s or you will regret him passing his physical. They had some of the best means to get past the Roids testing, so now you have your heads up.
    Sounds like another Beltre scam to me.

  • RadioGuy

    Cruz has the numbers, but so did a lot of power guys who’ve been brought to Seattle only to hit balls that were homers elsewhere but warning track outs at the pitcher’s park the Mariners play in. Square pegs for a round hole.

    If the Mariners still played in the Kingdome, Cruz would be a great signing, but at Safeco Field? Not necessarily. 1coolguy mentioned Beltre, who has hit everywhere BUT Seattle. At least he gave us great defense and was a total team-first guy but he hated hitting here.

    • Kirkland

      I saw stats that Cruz hit *better* on the road than in Baltimore’s cozy park last year. If that’s true, it suggests that he can adjust to parks. Getting more road games against Houston’s short left field fence and his familiar Texas park will help.

      Right now, a 3-4-5 of Cano, an even *average* Cruz and Seager looks pretty good, far better than last year where anyone with a pulse was shoved into DH.