Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that he’s leaning toward making a qualifying offer to impending free agent Nelson Cruz, which would either dramatically increase his odds of returning to Texas or crush his value on the open market.
Qualifying offers are essentially one-year, $14 million deals. Cruz could simply accept, in which case he’ll be back with the Rangers at that salary for 2014, or he could decline and then if/when he signs elsewhere the Rangers will get a draft pick as compensation.
As a 34-year-old coming off a 50-game suspension Cruz would probably struggle to generate a ton of multi-year interest as a free agent anyway, so he might be better off taking the one-year deal for what is a big salary and hitting the open market next year. How many other teams will be interested in losing a draft pick for the right to give him a big multi-year deal?
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.