In baseball things certainly have a way of working themselves out over the course of a season. For the Baltimore Orioles and Nelson Cruz, things are definitely working out about as well as possible heading into the month of June. With Cruz’ play over the first two months of the season, he is quickly becoming the offseason signing of the year for the Orioles.
Last winter, Cruz was one of the top free agents out on the market even in spite of serving a 50 game suspension. For one reason or another, Cruz did not sign until camps opened and was ultimately one of the last guys to sign on for the 2014 season. He wound up going to a team that had a natural fit for the slugging outfielder. Cruz’ bat projected to fit in well within a lineup that also featured Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and J.J. Hardy, among others. With a spot to succeed in, Cruz has not disappointed in the first two months of the season.
For the Orioles, the move is becoming gold. They were one team that really needed to make a bold move in order to get back into playoff contention. After being mostly quiet during the winter and also rejecting a deal with Grant Balfour due to a physical exam issue, the Orioles struck late on Cruz. Either lucky or good, the move is paying dividends.
To close out May, Cruz blasted his 20th home run of the season and added three more RBIs bringing his total to 52 for the year. Both of those marks currently lead the majors heading into June. Throughout his career, Cruz has shown the ability to be a heavy run producer, but even this output has to be more than what the Orioles expected.
Because of his past, Cruz’ numbers may always be taken with a grain of salt. He may never fully be given his full credit due to his past mistakes. But like Ryan Braun and Jhonny Peralta, he served his time and is now moving forward. For Cruz and the Orioles, both sides are most certainly pleased with the early returns. The signing of Cruz is developing into the signing of the winter as the Orioles are putting themselves back within playoff contention heading into the summer.
Nick Schaeflein is a Sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.