Now that free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz has signed a one-year $8 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles, it’s clear that the New York Mets and GM Sandy Alderson made a huge mistake in his judgment of the market for Cruz and should have waited longer with the hopes of signing him. The Mets would have been able to easily match or exceed what Cruz got from the Orioles.
Alderson is usually great at waiting and letting the market come to him, but he failed miserably in this instance. Waiting for Cruz wouldn’t have prevented the Mets from signing Curtis Granderson to a four-year contract, which was the biggest splash of the offseason for the Mets. However, Alderson rushed to sign Chris Young early in the offseason, which is something he should not have done with Cruz still being available.
In the end, Cruz got $8 million in a one-year deal, while the Mets are paying Young $7.25 million on a one-year deal. With Young coming off the worst season of his career and Cruz still being a middle-of-the-order power threat, it’s clear that the Mets have overpaid for Young.
The Mets do get some versatility from Young, including the ability to play center field, but the Mets didn’t necessarily need that as they have two elite defensive center fielders in their organization in Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker.
There’s also no guarantee that Young will be able to rebound from a poor 2013 season. Meanwhile, Cruz his 27 home runs last season and could have given the Mets a lineup that includes David Wright, Granderson and Cruz hitting in the three, four and five spots in the order, completing solving the power problems that have plagued them in recent years.
In Alderson’s defense, Cruz was seeking five years and $75 million at the time the Mets signed Young, but that doesn’t mean he should have given up on one of the best outfielders on the free agent market so quickly. If Cruz has a good season in 2014 and ends up hitting 20 to 30 home runs while Young flounders, Alderson’s hastiness could come back to haunt the Mets.
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