The Baltimore Orioles moved traded closer Jim Johnson for two reasons on Monday evening. One, Johnson, despite a relatively solid ERA was extremely hittable during the 2013 campaign, which forced him to lose his job as closer. Secondly, Johnson was due for a relatively significant raise in arbitration, a raise the Orioles weren’t interest in paying.
Now with money freed up from the trade, it’s being reported the Orioles, who seemingly are always in the market for a power hitter could use the available funds to lure free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz:
Jim Johnson trade was an obvious salary dump for Baltimore. Source said Orioles could be using money to pursue outfielder Nelson Cruz.
Cruz, who was suspended 50-games for reported PED use last season has long been an offensive force, though, questions remain how he’ll produce in a non-offensive ballpark (which he had in Texas) and not using performance enhancing drugs.
The outfielder/designated hitter also won’t come cheaply as he reportedly is looking for a four year, $75 million dollar deal, a deal which would also force the Orioles to forfeit a draft pick given the Rangers exercised a qualifying offer on Cruz.