Seattle Mariners trade rumors still persist, with Nelson Cruz coming up frequently. A Mariners trade of Cruz might be very unpopular with fans of the team, but it’s also something that might net the team a number of good players in return. A report from MLB.com on Saturday, October 3, shows how important Cruz has been to the team during the 2015 MLB season. The Baseball Writers Association of America named him the Mariners MVP for the season after putting up some great numbers.
Cruz had another good game for the Mariners on Friday, October 2, going 2-for-4 against the Oakland Athletics to raise his batting average to .303 on the season. He also has 44 home runs, 93 RBIs, 89 runs scored, and a .940 OPS. Those numbers rank among one of the best seasons that a Mariners hitter has had in franchise history (Ken Griffey, Jr. essentially set all of the single-season club records for offense each season from 1996-99). Despite all the great offensive numbers, though, the Mariners are just fourth in the American League West with a 75-85 record.
The Seattle Mariners trade rumors were addressed in a report from KPLU, as it was discussed how the team could sell “high” on its veteran outfielder. With a newly-hired general manager in Jerry Dipoto, the front office could look to make a big splash during the MLB offseason. Trading away an MVP candidate to address other needs on the roster could certainly be a way to do just that.
Nelson Cruz just turned 35 and has three years left on his current contract. He is due $14.25 million over each of the next three seasons, giving a lot of team control to any franchise putting him on the field. It’s certainly a great contract if he keeps putting up numbers like he has in 2015, but an argument has been made by many analysts that it isn’t enough to make the Mariners a winning team.
One important note to make is that Cruz has 161 strikeouts this season, which is a career-high. The most he had in a season before this was 140, showing that he is swinging and missing a lot of pitches. That’s an ugly trend that the team might need to address in the offseason. Another problem, is that his days playing in the outfield are winding down. Very soon, Cruz will become an everyday designated hitter, taking away some of the value that his contract has provided.
Even with the great seasons from Cruz and Robinson Cano, the Seattle Mariners only have a .249 batting average for the season. It is ranked 12th out of 15 teams in the American League, showing there is a lot of room for improvement. The team also ranks 12th in pitching, with a 4.17 ERA and 1.31 WHIP for the year. That includes 23 blown saves from a bullpen that has struggled to be consistent.
It’s possible that the Mariners could add some key pieces to help out the back-end of the starting rotation and the bullpen during the offseason. That could improve the team quite a bit, but there are also question marks in the outfield, at first base, and at catcher. Starting catcher Mike Zunino got demoted to triple-A Tacoma and starting center fielder Austin Jackson was traded to the Chicago Cubs. Mark Trumbo has come on toward the end of the season, so he could possibly open the 2016 MLB season at first base.
There is a lot of work that GM Jerry Dipoto will have to do during the offseason, and it might even include hiring a new manager to replace Lloyd McClendon. Seattle Mariners trade rumors about Nelson Cruz are going to come up again as well, with several teams likely to place a call to find out his availability. Should the Mariners trade Cruz to get fill several holes in one deal or hold on to him and hope his productivity doesn’t decrease?
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