There’s no denying that finding a right fielder will be one of the top priorities for the New York Mets this offseason. One of the players they should be targeting to fill their need in right field is Nelson Cruz, who spent the past seven seasons with the Texas Rangers.
Cruz has hit 80 home runs over the past three seasons, and would undoubtedly fill the power void the Mets have in the middle of their lineup. He’s a veteran player and a professional hitter, which would make him a great complement to a young Mets roster, and potentially a good influence to all the young players the Mets have. Even though he’s 33-years-old, he was an All-Star in 2013 and still has plenty left in the tank.
Rumors indicate that Shin-Soo Choo could be the Mets’ top target among free-agent outfielders, but Cruz would make a great alternative if Choo becomes too expensive or ends up signing with a different team. Cruz won’t require as much of a time commitment, as Choo could demand a four-year deal while Cruz could be signed with only a one- or two-year commitment.
Cruz would also be less expensive, which would leave the Mets with more money to address many of their other needs.
One drawback to consider with Cruz is his Biogenesis-related suspension. However, that may actually help the Mets as it could drive down his price and limit his number of suitors, making it easier for the Mets to sign him. Moreover, the Mets had success in 2013 with a player coming off a PED suspension, Marlon Byrd. He had a great bounce back year, so perhaps the Mets can get the same out of Cruz next season.
Cruz, who was originally signed by the Mets as a teenager in the Dominican Republic, would be a great fit to return to the Mets this offseason. He has the power that they need and he plays a position that the Mets need to fill. He’s also old enough to come at a fair price without a long-term commitment, but not so old that the Mets would have to worry about a steep drop in production.
Of all the free agent outfielders available this offseason, he may be the best option for the Mets.