The New York Mets insist they have no interest in “slugging’’ outfielder Nelson Cruz. Let’s hope they don’t waiver from that position.
Quotes belong around the word slugging because who really knows if he’s a genuine slugger or a chemistry project?
Cruz served a 50-game suspension for his connection in the Biogenesis case so the legitimacy of his numbers must be questioned. After four non-descript seasons totaling 22 homers, Cruz busted out to hit 33 in 2009.
Then 22, 29, 24 and 27. He never had more than 90 RBI in that five-year span. What can you make of those numbers, especially in a line-up as loaded as the Rangers?
Basically, that’s erratic power, but is it real or chemicals? And, when did he start? How long had he been using?
Whatever documents those answers were found in have not, and will not, be released by Major League Baseball. So, if you’re an owner and hear Cruz’s initial demands were as high as five years at $15 million each, you must take pause.
The Mets have been stung by burdensome, long-term, non-productive contracts over the past five years and the last thing they need is to add another to a 33-year-old.
If Cruz had no doubt about his legitimacy, he should ask for a one-year, incentive-laden deal to prove himself, but he didn’t. Why?
That question, plus Cruz’s age, questionable numbers, and contractual demands all combine to make him a risk the Mets should not take.
ON DECK: What about Wilmer Flores at shortstop?