Major League Baseball’s 2014 home run champion is now a member of the Seattle Mariners. Nelson Cruz, 34, has reportedly signed a four-year $57 million deal with the club.
— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) December 1, 2014
Last season Cruz led the entire league hitting 40 home runs for the Baltimore Orioles in what was probably the best season of his career so far, at least that is what the Mariners think.
Prior to signing with the Orioles in late February, Cruz had reportedly had a deal in place with the Mariners but the club backed out at the last minute.
Cruz was suspended 50 games in 2013 for performance enhancing drug (PED) use and it’s said that the club didn’t want to be connected to PEDs in anyway.
Apparently the Mariners, who also signed power hitting second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year monster deal last year, have changed their tune. They are willing to take on Cruz after his career year.
Safeco Field in Seattle is not a hitter-friendly park but if Cruz could hit 40 homers at Camden Yards, then he most certainly has the potential to hit 30 at Safeco Field.
Cruz has not tested positive for PEDs nor been associated with them since his suspension in 2013.
This move is huge for the Seattle ballclub as they finished just one game away from taking the second Wild Card spot away from their division rival Oakland Athletics in 2014.
Seattle now has the pitching, defense (especially with the tandem of Cano and Gold Glove third baseman Kyle Seager) and offense to be able to compete and possibly win in the ultra-competitive American League Western Division.