Could Nelson Cruz Stay In Baltimore Long-Term?

When Nelson Cruz signed his one-year, $8 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles, I assumed that there was no chance he’d return in 2015. Well, not so fast.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, there is indeed a chance.

While there's no definitive immediate word of any early negotiations between Cruz and the Orioles, both sides have expressed an interest in continuing the marriage, if possible. Cruz spoke of his strong interest in staying in an interview with Tom Verducci of MLB Network and Orioles people likewise have suggested they wouldn't mind keeping Cruz around. The team's stance should come as no surprise considering Cruz currently leads the AL with 34 home runs.

Cruz’s experience on the open market following 50-game PED suspension could play a role in the possibility of him returning to Baltimore. Should he hit free agency this offseason, the 34 year old slugger will certainly be one of the most sought after players on the market. Though he took a risk last offseason by turning down the Rangers qualifying offer and ultimately ended up making less to play with the Orioles.

Heyman also points out that Orioles GM Dan Duquette has “a very close relationship” with Cruz’s agent Adam Katz.

Cruz leads the league in home runs and made his third All-Star team this season. He’s played 57 games in left field, eight in right field and 66 as the O’s DH.

The Orioles offseason just got a whole lot more interesting. J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis will hit the open market at the end of the season. I wonder if a potential deal for Cruz could be the first of a few for the Orioles.

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