Nelson Cruz, Orioles agree to 1-year deal

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Cruz has been an enigma on the free agent market, but it looks like he has finally found a new home.

The Baltimore Orioles and free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz have agreed to a one-year deal worth $8 million, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN. Cruz can earn an additional $750,000 in incentives.

Cruz is expected to have his physical tomorrow. It should be noted that Baltimore has had some trouble with having free agent targets pass physicals this offseason, something that may have helped keep Bronson Arroyo from signing with the club. However, after a long offseason, it appears Cruz has finally found a new team.

Cruz had originally been asking for a contract worth $75 million over four years, but it did not appear any team was willing to go near that amount. By settling for one year, he can build up his value and potentially earn a multi-year contract next offseason.

Cruz's quest for a new contract was also hindered by the draft pick compensation attached to him. The Orioles will be required to forfeit their second round pick after Cruz turned down a qualifying offer from the Rangers. The team already gave up their first rounder after signing Ubaldo Jimenez.

Last year, Cruz played in just 109 games for the Rangers due to a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Despite that, he slugged 27 home runs while hitting .266/.327/.506.

Cruz could start in the outfield for the Orioles if the club is not sold on Nolan Reimold in left field. Otherwise, he will solve the team's recent woes at designated hitter. Baltimore had also been rumored to be chasing first baseman Kendrys Morales, though signing Cruz likely means they are out on him. The Orioles have also been rumored to still be in on Ervin Santana, despite already bringing in Jimenez. It's unclear whether they have the money or desire to make another big move, however.

The Orioles clearly believe their window of opportunity is now. They were fourth in runs scored in the American League last year and Cruz should only help that. With Cruz and Jimenez now on board, they could be a team to beat this season.

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