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February 24, 2014

Transaction Analysis

Qualifying Offer Helps Orioles, Hurts Nelson Cruz

by Ben Lindbergh and R.J. Anderson



IN THIS ISSUE

American League

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Agreed to sign DH/OF-R Nelson Cruz to a one-year, $8 million contract. [2/12]

When the offseason started, Nelson Cruz looked like a disaster deal waiting to happen. A below-average fielder and baserunner, Cruz’s power is his only asset of interest, and even that figures to decline as he heads into would be his age-34 season, had he been born a day earlier. (Baseball-Reference defines a player’s seasonal age as his age on June 30th; Cruz will turn 34 on July 1st.) In the past, teams have overpaid for free agents by failing to account properly for park effects, aging, and eroding ancillary skills, and Cruz stood to benefit from oversights in any or all of those areas. When PECOTA spit out Juan Gonzalez—who was done as a productive player after his age-33 season—as Cruz’s top comp, it seemed like a sign.

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