Nelson Cruz and the Market for Players

from Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs:

All offseason long, Nelson Cruz was thought of as a terrifying land mine. Plenty was written elsewhere, plenty was written right here, and in early November, Dave used the term “land mine”, specifically, to refer to Cruz as an acquisition. It was understood that Cruz was seeking a major contract. It was understood that Cruz was overrated as a contributing player. It was understood that everyone was to prepare to laugh at the team that eventually gave Cruz a whopper of a deal. Cruz became something of an unfunny offseason punchline. Then he signed with the Orioles for a year and eight million dollars. There are incentives, worth a total of less than one million dollars.

All along, it was assumed Cruz would end up with something statistically unreasonable. What he got instead is something that’s more or less fine for that kind of player, and this is one of the dangers of reaching conclusions about the market before the market reaches a conclusion about a player. As Dave has illustrated, or will illustrate, it’s interesting that this is what Cruz was reduced to. Something else that’s interesting is how the Orioles’ earlier acquisition of Ubaldo Jimenez in part allowed the Cruz signing to take place.

The thing Paul and I have been talking about at the Observer all off season.