Texas Rangers Offseason Questions: Nelson Cruz

Aug 1, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (17) takes a practice swing before his at bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of a baseball game at the Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason the Texas Rangers have many questions that need answers:

-          Who will be the DH next season?

-          Who will be in the starting rotation?

-          Who will be signed the free agent signings?

-          What is going to happen with Nelson Cruz?

This offseason we have been tackling the questions facing the Texas Rangers. And believe me– there are many.

ReCap

As we move through the Texas Rangers offseason questions, we find the Rangers conveniently answering some as we go. Question #1 was what to do with the logjam at middle infield. In other words, we have three players and only to positions. The Rangers replied with trading away 2B Ian Kinsler making room for Jurickson Profar at 2B.

Oct 17, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (28) throws to first base against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning in game five of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Question 2 was what to do at 1B.

Would Mitch Mooreland be given another shot or would the Rangers move Ian Kinsler to first to solve both the middle infield logjam AND the 1B problem. This question was also answered by the Kinsler trade which brought Texas a first basemen in Prince Fielder in return. Fielder is no defensive stud but it’s speculated his contract demands he plays in the field.

Question 3 was a look at the closer situation.

Joe Nathan has been the answer but he’s now a free agent and is looking to cash in on a multiyear contract. Something the Rangers aren’t very excited about. Nathan is in demand. Specific interest has been expressed by the Tigers and Yankees. In other words, Nathan is not coming back to Texas. The answer at closer probably resides on the team but no decision has been made as of yet.

Nelson Cruz

The question today is, “Are the Rangers prepared to let their longtime slugger get away?”

Nelson Cruz, 33, has been one of the most consistent bats on the team for years. Enduring the ups and downs of the Josh Hamilton years, Cruz has been a constant threat to go long and provide protection in the lineup.

July 14, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (17) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Last season he was lost for 50 games serving suspension for PEDs. All signs and testimony indicate the PEDs were primarily to recover from illness and not the engine behind his powerful bat. Caution must be taken in this regard because far too often we’ve seen MLB players cut out PEDs and subsequently lose their dynamic ability.

That’s certainly not the only negative to resigning Nelson Cruz. Cruz is somewhat injury prone typically sustaining hamstring injuries once a year or so. At age 33 his injury proneness isn’t likely to get better so any contract offer must be with the understanding that he will miss portions of each season.

Conclusion

It’s really a tough call and depends on the money and years involved in the contract. The acquisition of Prince Fielder makes the need to resign Cruz slightly less. But make no mistake, The Rangers still need another big bat in this lineup and with Carlos Beltran possibly joining Brian McCann in New York, the options are dwindling.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson

Topics: Ian Kinsler, Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers

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  • MimiReynolds

    Only thing I can say is they are letting too many get away!

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