Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Nelson Cruz Would Boost Bucs’ Lineup Next Season

Nelson Cruz

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates had a breakout campaign last year, and they will look to build on that to compete on the NL Central once again.

Led by MVP winner Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates have some solid pieces in their lineup, but they also possess a huge void in the outfield that will need to be filled through the free agent market. With most of the big names already taken, they could try to land former Texas Rangers star Nelson Cruz.

The 33-year-old veteran still hasn’t signed with a team and even though landing him would mean losing a draft pick, it is a hit that the Pirates should be able to take. Cruz is a legitimate threat on the offensive side of the ball, going deep at least 22 times in each of the last five years; even though he was part of the Biogenesis scandal in 2013, the Pirates could offer him a short deal to prove that he can produce after what happened last season.

Cruz would be slotted in the right field, a spot currently held by José Tabata until prospect Gregory Polanco is ready to take over. If he signs with Pittsburgh, the Pirates would add an impact player on both sides of the ball. Cruz is an average defender at a corner position and if he’s paired with McCutchen and Starling Marte, that would give the team an above-average outfield in terms of defense.

Offensively, Cruz is a threat with his power. He could bat third or cleanup and since the Pirates already have players like Cutch and Pedro Alvarez to produce runs. The addition of Cruz would only make them more dangerous. In a division that already features the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds, the Pirates need all the help they can get to compete next year. Signing Cruz would definitely be a step in the right direction.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google

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  • endofthedial

    I totally disagree. First priority should be someone who can hit consistently for average, to set the plate for some of our big swingers. If we have to wait for internal options then so be it.

    • Joe Komar

      Solid chance Tabata can hit for average. Polanco isn’t far off either. Why is this moron suggesting we cock block them with Cruz?
      Cruz is the worst free agent due to age, always injury prone and only attribute is power but he juiced. Heis defense is bad too. Nothing to like about Cruz. He’ll be a big bust wherever he signs. I’m happy it won’t be here.

  • Joe Komar

    Juan Pablo Aravena is on drugs. Pirates could use Ike Davis, Smoak , etc. due to need at 1B and affordable contracts.
    This is the dumbest article I’ve ever read. It literally has zero chance of happening.