Thus far in 2014, the marriage between Nelson Cruz and the Baltimore Orioles has been a smashing success.
Considering the fact that it is June 3rd, we could even say that the honeymoon is over. Now both sides are settled into their daily routine, punching the clock each day. They come home and do the dishes, get ready for work the next day, make sure the bills are paid. And they are still happy together.
Why wouldn’t they be? Through 54 games Cruz is batting .314/.384/.672 with 20 home runs and 52 driven in. To put that in perspective, he hit 27 home runs and drove in 76 runs in 109 games of action last season with the Texas Rangers (before getting popped with a PED suspension).
The numbers will regress, but even if they do, the Orioles have managed to find an elite power hitter on the cheap (one year, $8 million). And while his showing in 2014 might have him in line for a big payday at season’s end, Cruz spoke about where he wants to be on Tuesday, saying in no uncertain terms that he plans to stay with the Orioles:
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) June 3, 2014
It might not be so simple for the Orioles, though they showed a willingness to spend this past off-season. Besides, when a guy is your MVP or darn close to it, that changes your priorities.
When Cruz first signed in Baltimore it looked like a temporary arrangement so that the slugger could re-establish his value. Now it sounds like Cruz might be an Oriole for the foreseeable future.