The Baltimore Orioles continued to improve the roster this weekend as they agreed to terms with free agent OF Nelson Cruz on a one year deal for $8 million plus incentives. The deal was first reported by ESPN.deportes.com, but the question that immediately went into our minds would be how the players and fans of the team would look at the signing of Cruz after he served a 50-game suspension last season as part of the Biogenesis case.
First let's talk about the deal a little bit. Baltimore get's Cruz for quite a steal considering what people thought he was going to get in free agency one the 2013 season ended, as they get him on a one year deal for $8 million plus $750,000 in incentives based on time spent on the major league roster. Cruz is coming off of a season in which he hit .266 with 27 home runs, 76 RBI, with a .327 on base percentage and an All Star selection in just 109 games played. He is a career .268 hitter, with splits of .262 vs right handed pitchers and a .285 average vs left handed pitchers.
Of course the big issue with Cruz is the 50-game suspension he had to serve last season as part of the Biogensis case.
Several Orioles have been very outspoken about their feelings on PED's in the game of baseball, which include guys like Chris Davis and Nick Markakis. MASN's Rock Kubatko was one of several reporters to hear from Markakis following the news of the Cruz signing (click here to see Roch's full article on Markakis comments), and here is some of what Nick had to say.
"It doesn't change my opinion toward anything," Markakis said. "He's my teammate now, so I've got to be a teammate. No matter if you disagree or agree with your teammates, they're still your teammates. He's going to be welcome here and we are going to play as one. That's for sure."
"We know how things go on in this clubhouse, we know how we do things and we do things certain ways. Guys coming in here are going to have to adjust to that. It's not just about making adjustments in the batter's box and on the pitcher's mound, it's making adjustments to a new clubhouse, a new team and so forth. There's adjustments, not just on the field, but off the field, too."
Those weren't the only comments coming out of Sarasota as Kubatko also caught up with Davis (click here for Kubatko's article with Davis comments). Davis is no stranger to PED talk as many have been quick to accuse him of use with his big power numbers recently, but Chris has been very outspoken on his feelings about PED's. Here is some of what Davis had to say via Kubatko:
"I'm happy about it," Davis told me (Kubatko) earlier today. "I know that it's kind of a touchy subject. Nobody wants anybody to cheat. I think that's the biggest issue with the PEDs from the drug testing, that we're trying to get baseball back to a state of integrity where you don't have to worry about the guy across from you having an advantage that you don't have. That being said, I think there's something to be said about a guy who owns up to his mistake."
"I think that's the biggest thing, too. If you get caught, guys are saying, 'You know what? I did it, I cheated, I'm going to serve my suspension, I'm going to learn from this and move on.' Guys who are trying to deny, deny and deny and continue to try to cheat the system when they're obviously guilty are guys that I think rub people the wrong way."
"In Nelson's case, he is a great player. He was before he did whatever he did. I had a chance to play with him in 2008 and the guy was a special player. I think he can help us out a lot. He's a great guy to have in the clubhouse. A great person to have around."
"Like I said, I think there's something to be said for owning up to your mistake. At some point, we have to forgive guys for what they've done and say, 'OK, he was caught and he owned it and now it's time to move on.'"
As you can see, some of the biggest names in the Orioles clubhouse are going to treat Cruz with respect as he is a teammate now, but we wanted to know how some of the fans felt about the Cruz signing, so we reached out on our Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ sites to gage some fan reaction and here is some of what we got back.
"He paid for what he did. Time to move on and play ball. Good addition"
"As long as he stays clean now I'm willing to give him a second chance."
"he served his time. Bottom line: does he help us win games in '14? An emphatic yes! And that's all that matters in '14."
"Glad the deal is cheap/incentives based. We don't know how long he's been on PEDs and how his stats will be. Hopefully the same"
"as long as the suspension is over and we don't have any problems, its a good cheap deal."
That is just five of the several comments we got back from our readers/followers and the overwhelming feeling we gathered is that fans are OK with the signing because he served his time and by accepting the suspension, he admitted he was caught and didn't deny it. Everyone seems to love, including us, that it is a one year deal with some incentives attached as it should help influence his performance since he will be playing for another contract following the upcoming season.
How do you feel about the Cruz signing? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!
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