Potential Phillies Offseason Target: Nelson Cruz


Image Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we’re in January, most of the offseason’s dealings are behind us.  However there are still some unsigned free agents who might be good fits with the Phillies.  I’ll take a look at a few of them over the next couple of weeks.

Nelson Cruz

2013 Team: Texas Rangers

Key 2013 Stats: .266 AVG/.327 OBP/.506 SLG, 27 HR, 76 RBI, 2.0 WAR

Why He Might Be a Good Fit

Cruz supplies right-handed power, an attribute that the Phillies seem to be in short supply of, even after the signing of Marlon Byrd.  Cruz has averaged 27 home runs over the past five seasons, and that type of power would be a serious boost to the Phillies lineup.

Why He Might Not Be a Good Fit

Those impressive power numbers that Cruz put up come with an asterisk, as he was suspended for 50 games during the 2013 season due to being connected to the Biogenesis scandal.  While his PED usage all supposedly occurred before the 2013 season, it is difficult not to be at least a little skeptical.

Even if the Phillies wanted to look past that, they don’t appear to have an obvious spot to play him. Neither he nor Marlon Byrd is equipped to be a center fielder at this point, and after signing Byrd earlier in the offseason, it wouldn’t make much sense to relegate him to the bench.

My Take

Signing Cruz would only make sense if the team was seriously attempting to trade Dom Brown, but it doesn’t appear like there was much truth behind those rumors.  If Cruz could play center he might be worth taking a look at, but with the corner spots filled, Cruz would be an expensive luxury.