Nelson Cruz, Mariners talks on hold

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Despite a sense of inevitability, the Mariners and Cruz have put their contract talks on hold.

With teams slowly reporting to spring training this week, Nelson Cruz is still without a team for the 2014 season and talks between Cruz and his most likely suitor, the Seattle Mariners, are "on hold" according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.

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Cotillo reports that Cruz has not been willing to sufficiently lower his asking price and that the Mariners are starting to look at other options ahead of the 2014 season. Cruz is known for his power with a career slugging percentage of .495, but the rest of his game is somewhat limited as he has unspectacular on-base skills and below average marks on defense and on the bases over the last three seasons, which has limited his market.

Hisashi Iwakuma is expected to miss several weeks and Taijuan Walker is reportedly dealing with shoulder soreness, so the Mariners could be exploring the market for starting pitchers while they wait on Cruz. The Mariners have been one of the few teams interested in Cruz, but he wouldn't likely be a significant upgrade over their expected Opening Day outfield of Logan Morrison, Dustin Ackley, and Michael Saunders, considering that first base and designated hitter are also filled by Justin Smoak and Corey Hart, so they may be able to wait him out and sign him for a reasonable price.

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