Nelson Cruz - Baltimore Orioles DH

Boston Globe columnist Nick Cafardo thinks we’ll learn a lot about Orioles ownership from their ability to re-sign just one player this offseason.

Not, it’s not Nick Hundley.

9. Nelson Cruz, DH/OF, free agent — The Orioles’ commitment to winning will be tested by Cruz’s free agency. If they can’t compete for a guy who was arguably their MVP, you have to be critical of ownership, which did step up to get J.J. Hardy’s deal done in the middle of the playoffs. Attendance is up, TV money is coming in. No excuses.

Free agency has barely just begun and already the narrative surrounding the Orioles sounds eerily similar to what we heard last year.

Does this team really want to win? DO THEY? DO THEY REALLY?

IF THIS TEAM REALLY WANTED TO WIN, WHY WOULD THEY GO OUT AND SIGN DELMON YOUNG ON JANUARY 13?

WHY ARE THEY SO OBSESSED WITH THIS STEVE PEARCE GUY ANYWAY?

Let’s just cool the jets for a second.

Yeah, Nelson Cruz had a fantastic, MVP candidate caliber season in 2014. But would giving a 34 year old who posted his highest OPS+ since 2008 an expensive, multi-year deal really take the Orioles over the edge?

Remember folks, this time a year ago everyone wanted to make sure that Chris Davis would be an Oriole for life after he hit a million home runs in a single season. Then in 2014 his batting average fell 90 points below where it was the previous season.

I would love to see Cruz back in Baltimore at the right price. He was an incredible asset to the O’s in 2014, but truthfully, it’s hard for me to imagine that he’ll repeat his 40 home run season again. If a club goes out and overspends for his services, I won’t fault the O’s for making a smart move and letting him walk.

More than anything, I believe that Cruz provides the Birds with a calming influence in October. He brings an impressive postseason resume, especially for a club that somehow forgot how to hit against Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie during the ALCS.

What’s that worth to the Orioles?

Image Credit: Keith Allison