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Seattle Mariners rumors: Nelson Cruz may get multi-year deal, Kendrys Morales backup plan? [VIDEO]

Raimundo Ortiz
By Raimundo Ortiz @AroundtheMundo
on Feb 07, 2014 12:40 PM EST
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Nelson Cruz
Free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz. (Photo : Reuters)

The Seattle Mariners announced their intentions to compete seriously for an American League West title when they signed second baseman Robinson Cano away from the New York Yankees to a 10-year, $240 million deal.

Still, questions remain as to whether or not they'll be able to compete with the Rangers and A's, or even the expensively constructed Angels. Seattle's not done answering those questions, however, with Rangers free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz still on the market.

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According to reports, Mariners brass isn't going to be shy about adding Cruz to the lineup despite myriad red flags. "There's a belief Seattle is amenable to a multi-year deal for Cruz, perhaps two years, with maybe an option or possibly even a guaranteed third year," Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported.

In 109 games last season Cruz batted .266 and smacked 27 home runs while driving in 76 runs. He was suspended for 50 games though for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drug policy. He's also 33 years old, an age at which teams begin having reservations about handing out multi-year deals.

On top of the age and steroid concerns, the Rangers made a qualifying offer to him which means if Seattle brings him aboard it will cost a first-round draft pick. Finally, there are injury concerns attached to Cruz, as he's only played in more than 128 games once in his entire career. Finally, he has well-documented issues fielding his position, which puts him in a similar category as fellow 2014 additions Corey Hart and Logan Morrison.

Still even with all the negatives, Cruz has been a productive bat when healthy. In the event that Cruz's salary demands are too high thought the Mariners may elect to bring back Kendrys Morales.

Last season Morales didn't meet expectations as a premier slugger, but he did give the Mariners a .277 batting average, 23 homers, and 80 RBI.

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