It is hard to fully understand why Nelson Cruz is still left without a team.
Is it the PED suspension? That hardly seems to have stopped any of Cruz’s peers, including a guy like Melky Cabrera, from getting a deal in free agency.
Is it the compensatory draft pick? That is probably the biggest factor, though right-handed power comes at a premium in Major League Baseball, so presumably that would only hold teams up for so long.
In his usual Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick Cafardo writes that there is finally momentum for Cruz to get a deal:
Momentum is starting to build in Cruz’s favor. While a one-year deal somewhere is still not out of the question, there are teams with righthanded power needs, and Cruz could benefit. The Mariners remain interested, but according to one major league source, “there could be up to four or five teams who could take the plunge in the end.”
For a while it seemed that Cruz might have to settle for a pillow deal with the Rangers or some other team and then go through the free agency experience again next year. That seems surprising for a guy who knocked 27 home runs and 76 RBI in only 109 games last year. It makes sense, then, that things are finally loosening up for Cruz.