According to Fan House’s Frankie Piliere, the Yankees have asked the Texas Rangers about the availability of outfielder Nelson Cruz. Unfortunately Piliere was unable to confirm that rumor so we don’t know if it ever got past that point.
This should be seen as good news even for Yankee fans who want Johnny Damon to return to the Bronx. The bottom line when it comes to Damon is that Scott Boras is his agent and sometimes Boras has unrealistic demands for players and hopefully even die-hard Damon fans will realize that the Yankees shouldn’t take him back if they’re not getting a good deal.
The Damon situation might even resolve itself without the Yankees ever getting back into the bidding and it is good to see them not putting all their eggs in one basket. Keeping their options open beyond Damon or even other free agents is a smart move.
As for Cruz, he is an interesting player. He’s currently 29 years-old and will be 30 by mid-season and 2009 was his first full season in the minors. By most accounts it was a productive one, he had a 117 OPS+ with a line of .260/.332/.524. His average and OBP were a bit low, but you’ve got to like that power.
The problem is those power numbers are exaggerated playing for Texas. At home he was fine slugging .568, but on the road that dropped to .478 and he doesn’t hit lefties well, 144 OPS+ against righties and 94 OPS+ against lefties. So not only will his numbers drop leaving Texas, but he doesn’t really fit into the Yankees needs either.
That being said, unless the Yankees can pull of a tremendous deal for him, they should pass as even his strong fielding, 3.3, 6.0, 10.6 UZR rankings in 2006, ’07, and ’09 respectively, doesn’t make him a very attractive option in the Bronx.