UPDATE 6:25 p.m. ET: The Mariners' interest in Cruz is looking to be a bit more than a passing fancy. Seattle and Cruz are reported to have "serious interest" in each other, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.
Free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz is among the players that the Seattle Mariners are considering as they look to make offensive upgrades this winter, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
The M's are looking for new players to add at several positions this winter, and bolstering the outfield appears to be at the forefront of that list. Michael Saunders is likely to take over for Raul Ibanez in left field next season, but the market to play center and/or right at Safeco in 2014 appears to be wide open.
Cruz, 33, saw somewhat limited action in 2013 because of his 50-game PED suspension, but was his usual powerful self when he did play. The slugging right fielder batted .266/.327/.506 with 27 home runs in 109 games on the year, right in line with his career norms.
Mariners right fielders collectively hit .244/.292/.402 with 25 home runs in 2013, so Cruz would seem to be a huge upgrade if you take the numbers at face value. When his home/road splits get thrown into the equation, however, the prospect of signing Cruz gets a bit dicier. For his career, Cruz has hit just .242/.299/.435 away from the Ballpark in Arlington, which brings him much closer to the mishmash of players the Mariners put in right field last year.
The Rangers are also believed to have interest in signing Cruz. He was originally seeking a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $75 million, but his price has gone down, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.