(1090 The Fan) — In an alleged attempt to compliment the historic Robinson Cano signing, it’s being reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that the Seattle Mariners are in talks with free agent slugger Nelson Cruz.
Towards the end of 2013, there were conflicting reports — sparked by a Venezuelan newspaper article — on whether or not Cruz would be joining the Mariners. In Heyman’s latest offering on Tuesday, he reports the Mariners are open to a multiyear deal for Cruz. He says, a two-year deal seems reasonable, “with maybe an option or possibly even a guaranteed third year.”
Since becoming an everyday player for the Rangers, Cruz has averaged 27 home runs and roughly 81 RBI per season. The two-time All-Star has a lifetime on-base percentage of .327 and an OPS of .823. His highest Wins Above Replacement number (WAR) came in 2010 (4.3) — last season he finished with a 2.0.
New Seattle president Kevin Mather has authorized more money to be targeted toward player payroll, and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik suggested in this space a week ago that there could be room for another free-agent signing.
Heyman says Seattle is also in on free agent reliever Fernando Rodney to help strengthen the ailing bullpen. Rodney is seeking a $15 million deal over two years, according to Heyman.
Rodney went 5-4 with a 3.38 ERA, 37 saves and a 1.335 WHIP for the Rays after having a 0.60 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 2012, when he finished fifth in Cy Young voting.
The Mariners’ bullpen needs a lot of help, especially after the team went 19-29 in one-run games in 2013. In extra-inning games, Seattle tallied the worst record in baseball at 6-15.
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