Nelson Cruz seeks $75M for 4 years; will 'Biogenesis uptick' help?

Nelson Cruz hit 27 homers before serving his 50-game ban to end last season. (USATSI)
Nelson Cruz hit 27 homers before serving his 50-game ban to end last season. (USATSI)

Free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz had to be heartened by Jhonny Peralta's $53 million deal, as Cruz is the better of these two Biogenesis-connected players.

It shouldn't come as a shock that, according to sources, Cruz is said to seek about $75 million over four years. And it shouldn't come as a surprise, either, that there are plenty of interested teams, among them the Mariners, Athletics, Mets and his old Rangers team. The Phillies are another that showed early interest but would probably have to trade someone to make room now. (Cruz's agent Adam Katz declined comment on any and all.)

The Cardinals (and others) obviously weren't dissuaded by Peralta's connection to Biogenesis, so there's no reason to believe teams won't think positively when it comes to Cruz, who hit 27 home runs with 76 RBI and a .266 batting average before he missed the final 50 games of 2013 to serve a 50-game PED-related suspension, as did Peralta.

Those 50 games may only be seen as a blemish or a blip, if that.

One management person joked, "There seems to be a Biogenesis uptick," following the shortstop Peralta's widely-panned four-year deal with the Cardinals.

St. Louis, a historically wise team, justified the deal since it had only one upgrade to make after adding center fielder Peter Bourjos, and also the low supply of free-agent shortstops (Stephen Drew is the only other one of that level) and understandably high asking prices for shortstops in trade. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, who was hit with a lot of Biogenesis questions regarding the otherwise positive development of filling their shortstop need with an accomplished player, said they didn't feel it was their place to play "moral police."

Peralta did not have other blemishes on his resume. The same can be said for Cruz, who unlike Melky Cabrera last winter, has been a consistent performer with an otherwise fine record of good character and team play. Over his past five seasons in Texas he's hit between 22 and 33 home runs and driven in between 76 and 90 runs. He's also hit in the .260s every year except 2010, when he hit .318.

While it isn't known whether Texas sees Cruz, 33, as its primary outfield target (or perhaps a backup plan is free agent Shin-Soo Choo), it speaks well of him that the Rangers say nice things and haven't ruled out his return.

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