Nelson Cruz and the Orioles have mutual interest in an extension

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Jon Heyman reports that both the Orioles and Nelson Cruz “have expressed an interest” in a contract extension.

Of course it’s easy to express interest without getting down to brass tacks, and there’s no way the O’s and Cruz’s people are down to brass tacks at the moment. Everyone is happy with the crazy-productive player on the team-friendly deal, but if and when Cruz starts to shop his wares to other teams in November, he’s going to be in pretty high demand and thus will cost a lot more. To get something now will require the O’s to buy Cruz out of that which he was deprived of last year because of the Biogenesis stigma: a relatively wide open market for his services.

Well, wide open one once accounts for the fact that he’ll likely have a qualifying offer from the Orioles, but at least this winter he won’t be seen as damaged goods.

Report: Mariners enter into a ballpark naming rights deal with T-Mobile

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Maury Brown of Forbes reports that T-Mobile will be the new naming rights partner for the Seattle Mariners’ ballpark beginning in 2019. Their park had been known as Safeco Field since it first opened in the summer of 1999. The 20-year naming rights deal with Safeco ended with the close of the 2018 season.

Brown reports that the deal will be around $3 million a year, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot. Then again, I have long been skeptical of how much naming rights actually bring back to the naming rights partner. That’s especially true when the partner is slapping its name on a ballpark that was known as something else beforehand. People tend to still use the old name and, I suspect, resent the new one a bit. Maybe that’s less the case when the park has only been known by corporate names, and no beloved traditional name is being displaced, but I still question if anyone really makes a single purchasing decision based on the name of a ballpark.

I know this much for sure, though: despite the relatively small cost of naming rights here, none of the most notable Seattle-based companies — which include Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Costco and Alaska Airlines — felt it was worth it. Possibly because they know people are gonna call the place “Safeco” for several years regardless.