Why did the Mets sign Young for one year and not Nelson Cruz?

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

Nelson Cruz signed a one-year, $8 million deal, 16 weeks after the Mets gave Chris Young a one-year, $7.5 million deal, leaving some Mets fans to wonder why Young and not Cruz…

Here’s why: 1) Cruz was asking for a five-year, $80 million when Young signed on Nov. 1, and most reports indicated he could get it; 2) the Mets aren’t psychic, nor own a crystal ball; and 3) Cruz and Young have had similar overall production at points during the last few years.

That said, “This is not a ‘gee-whiz, if we just waited’ moment for us,” Sandy Alderson said Saturday (Star-Ledger, Feb. 22). “We’re happy with Chris Young.”

I realize critics will see jumping the gun with Young, who had a weak 2013 in Oakland, in contrast to Cruz’s 20+ home run potential and his one-year deal with Baltimore. But, that wasn’t the market in November. It’s easy to look back and say, ‘Pass on Young, sign Cruz for roughly the same deal.’ But, had you offered Cruz a one-year, $8 million deal in November, you would have been laughed at. In fact, the crew at FanGraphs.com – which is usually very good at projecting future contracts – predicted in December that Cruz would eventually sign a three-year, $32 million deal.

Nelson Cruz 1

The argument, instead, has nothing to do with Young. It’s about Cruz today and whether he’s worth $8 million for one season. And, of course he is. Why didn’t the Mets sign him? I don’t know, other than they already have four people competing for the outfield, and they probably figured Cruz’s 3.9 WAR the last few years just wasn’t worth adding to the mix.

In the end, Cruz is a below-average, one-dimension player, who is a total butcher in the field, which would have become more glaringly obvious in Citi Field.

In short, as FanGraphs.com’s Dave Cameron said in December, after doing a statistical breakdown and valuation of Cruz, “Run away, interested teams… Give anyone else your money. It will be better spent than giving it to Nelson Cruz.”

On the other hand, Cameron later wrote about Young, “He isn’t a sexy addition, but this is the kind of solid low cost move that smart teams are making these days. If you just focus on what Young can’t do, you’ll ignore the fact that what he can do has value, and $7 million for what he brings to the table is one of the off-season’s better bargains.”

The Mets clearly see eye to eye with Cameron. Hopefully they’re right…

305 comments
William John Dwyer
William John Dwyer

NTM, did Cruz, and for that matter, does (someone who shall not be named by me), WANT to sign with the Mets.  Regardless of HGH use, at Cruz's age...I don;t see him signing anywhere that he doesn;t feel is Playoff bound.  Now while it is early, on paper, the Mets do not look enticing to ANY viable FA right now.

ken1010
ken1010

I don't want the Mets signing outfielders who can't catch the ball.  I'm glad Cruz is not on the Mets.  

Instead of signing Young, however, they should have spent the money on Choo.  That would have been a major upgrade.

Joseph Baffi
Joseph Baffi

cruz would of fit met much better then young btw he much better the young he was main part of a playoff line up and young was a part time player

Robert C. Smith
Robert C. Smith

Once again, it astounds me how this organization not only has no finger on the pulse of its upset fan base - it doesn't even pretend to care in the first place.


StubHub can be such a lonely place past July.

Wali Omarkheil
Wali Omarkheil

Talking about PED...How about Colon???? When you take chances then you take chances

Wali Omarkheil
Wali Omarkheil

FYI-for you to call Met fans cry baby ur out of your mind. For years this team has been 2nd class to the Yankees and it's bc of this ownership and some clueless fans that only go to the game to get wasted that supports Wilpon cause of being cheap. It's bc of this ownership that fans have the right to complain. They have put a single A team out in the field year in and out. When you compare Young to Cruz it's obvious Cruz is much more accomplished hitter. Young is better defensively, but if we wanted a defensive guy with no power or bat then we could have put Mike Baxter n paid that poor guy Young bad contract. How could u take a .200 hitter with 12 hrs and over pay????as far as Sandy not knowing that the price was going to come down...well he should have that's his job wtf...

openmind6
openmind6

Cerrone, do you have nothing else in your writing arsenal besides "THAT SAID"?

It would make for a great drinking game.

Jayson Love
Jayson Love

the problem is two fold. one, i have no idea why they felt they had to rush to sign young.  Alderson is not a first year GM for him to cry "woe is me" and have "no idea what the market would become" is laughable.  EVERY SINGLE YEAR the market gets smaller and smaller as opening day approaches.  Young off of his disasterous 2013, would most likely still be available at this time of year and if not, someone comparable (say Nelson Cruz or if you were looking for a guy who can play the OF someone a stop-gap 4th OF type, Juan pierre is still out there, Frenchy, Sam Fuld) all still there, or just go with a young kid.  The 2nd issue is why the heck couldnt we just sign both?

Chris Biehl
Chris Biehl

He's a DH at this stage of his ped career

Chris Biehl
Chris Biehl

Agree with everything but the Drew part

Chris Biehl
Chris Biehl

Wake up yourself, Cruz is a horrible outfielder....Stone hands and lead feet wont translate well in Citi field.....He's pushing 34 and injury prone, only played more than 128 in season once in his career.......He's not very good away from Arlington and ba and obp have been slipping for years......Is his power even legit without the ped's??

Chris Biehl
Chris Biehl

Even more, at one point Cruz was seeking 5 yrs 75 mil

comparing this to the Young contract isn't fair but I really think you'd be hard pressed to find another teams that would have offered Young 7.25 million. The Mets flat out messed up not Young signing, especially not attaching a club option in case he works out. It would have enhanced his trade value at the deadline.


Who really knows what Cruz was asking for from the Mets. maybe he was willing to accept less money from Baltimore because they're going to be in contention and we wouldn't have to switch leagues. He may have asked for 15 million from the Mets, the thing is we don't know. However, Cerrone comparing him and Young is ludicrous. Young lost playing time to Seth Smith last year. Cruz and Young are not even close to comparable. I also don't want to hear him talking about his defensive struggles. Both Alderson and Collins have been quoted several times that Duda will see time in the OF. Clearly, corner outfield defense isn't something the Mets hold in high regard. 

Bob Higgins
Bob Higgins

First of all the Wilpons suck ! Cruz and Drew would of made this a much better team . And for all of you who say next year free agents shortstops are much better what makes you think this cheap ownership will go after any of these guys ? They will always under bid for any player. Unless your Chris Young ...

John Patrick Larkin
John Patrick Larkin

When they start off 10-25 I hope from Collins up is fired! Alderson and his crew. If we are going to suck atleast let us suck with Ex-Mets like Backman running the field. Let Kranepool get some piece of the action. he has been trying to decades...


Jimmy P.
Jimmy P.

I can't wait for Big Mike to rip this apart on Monday at 1PM

dreamer3kx
dreamer3kx

The guy hit 266 with 27 hrs last year, where are you guys getting he sucks from, so cares if hes better at home then away, guess what, most players are, also most sluggers are not great defensive players in the OF, everyone is not Barry Bonds, the man couldve been a threat in this still weak lineup, hes very similar to Delgado, Delgado was great here.

John Ferretti Jr.
John Ferretti Jr.

Btw, in light of what cruz got....grandys contract is ridiculous too.

Genious SA could have signed cruz at one year 8 and spent for bullpen help. Instead we are going to have farnsworth setting up valverde on opening day.

William John Dwyer
William John Dwyer

@Robert C. Smith  You haven;t paid much attention to what SA has said over the years have you.  He has said time and again, he will not sign someone just because the fans want it.  He has said almost word for word, the fanbase will not dictate who the team signs via FA.

Starz31
Starz31

@Robert C. Smith  Upset fanbase? That's pure speculation. Who knows what the true number is. For example, only 10% of visitors to this site post comments, so it's hard to even use that as a barometer, besides the fact it appears to me to be about 60/40 in favor of those upset by the Cruz/Young decision. Count me on the side of not upset. 

nncyel
nncyel

 You're right Cruz and Young are not even close to comparable. Young is a much better all-around player than Cruz. Very happy they signed him rather than Cruz.

anymos
anymos

Define 'much better."  And I think its interesting that people are willing to overlook Cruz' steroid use when analyzing his ability.  We have no idea what his actual talent level is, and at 34, i'd be surprised if he comes close to replicating what he did while he was on the sauce in Texas.

zoddie
zoddie

The Mets don't have a DH, so we have no place for Cruz.

zoddie
zoddie

Sandy has done a very good job as GM. What are you even complaining about?

niesesnose
niesesnose

Yeah. At least if Francesca rips them il be happy, as it's further proof signing him was a bad idea because Francesayso is an idiot

niesesnose
niesesnose

"Who cares of he's better at home?"

Hmm..idk but having a batting average that's 50 points higher at home seems like a red flag, especially especially when your home park is a batters park

Starz31
Starz31

He's a poor all around hitter. The power is undeniable but he's a poor fielder and he suffered from multiple injuries last year. With his age and PED-suspicions, there's been doubt how he would translate to the NL. He's a much better fit on a team with a DH. Also, just like with Drew, there's a reason he was still unsigned until this week. There something that we don't know that teams do so I think it's unfair to blame the mets for not signing him when the league passed on him too, even his own team who was still interested in him. Last year he could've signed for $70 million (his value) and now he barely got $8. Something's fishy there.

nncyel
nncyel

@dreamer3kx  Delgado is a border-line hall of famer - .280 BA 472 HR 1512 RBI; Nelson Cruz .268 BA 157 HR 489 RBI. There's simply no comparison. With his mediocre defense Cruz will mostly DH this year. He's an American League player. The Mets are trying to build a team around pitching, defense and speed. That's why they signed Young not Cruz, along with a number of other factors. I agree with the move to not sign him. Pass, Sandy, Pass.

niesesnose
niesesnose

Wrong. If Parnells not ready Black will close/ set up

Starz31
Starz31

Grandeson is a better all around player than Cruz and will be a better fit in the NL where he still has range to cover a corner OF, although granted he has no arm. But hey, you have a point about overpaying for him. I do think he would've still gotten a good contract from some team. There's a reason no one touched Cruz.

John Ferretti Jr.
John Ferretti Jr.

Huh? Young is terrible....200 is terrible...he is a worse hitter than juan lagares. Cruz is an all star. Stop the all around nonsense. Young is an automatic out...cruz would have lead the team in hr.

John Ferretti Jr.
John Ferretti Jr.

Really? So their record has improved each year? O wait...its the opposite.

A lot of this is on the wilpons bc theu arent giving him the resources...but the few sheckles they have given him have been wasted. His two biggest free agent signings before grandy and colon were francisco and young. With these limited resources the mets cant afford to make blunders like that.

His diamonds in the rough like emaus and cowgill were flops....harvey wasnt him....what has this guy done? And please dont start about the young pitchers....lets see them produce on the big league level.

Jimmy P.
Jimmy P.

I doubt you stay on the radio for over 25 years making millions of dollars if you're an idiot. A bitter fan with blue and orange blinders on sure.

You're not smart so I'll lay it out. He's not a Mets fan, but he's been around baseball forever and he's been talking about it professionally forever. So if he rips it it means something because he has no vested interest, unlike the bitter internet fan.

dreamer3kx
dreamer3kx

@nncyel @dreamer3kx  Defense and speed doesnt score runs, we need more pop on this team, we have solid, one medicore defensive LFer wouldnt kill us, let me ask you this way, would you rather have Wright, Grandy, Young as 3,4,5 or Wright, Cruz, Grandy.

John Ferretti Jr.
John Ferretti Jr.

Ok...that is a loser mentality that you have the right to.

I Think a ny team with ny revenues should spend....not be in the bottom 3 in payroll. The chris young signing was a cheap way out....as usual. But hey...we outbid the astros!!

nncyel
nncyel

@John R. Ferretti  Of course you take trends into account. However Cruz has not gotten better the last 3 years. He's been steady. Please look at the stats don't just pull stuff out of your arse. 


Young had a poor year last year, but no other numbers suggest that he's declining.  I'm not apologizing for the organization. We have a difference of opinion. I believe Young is a better signing than Cruz. I could be wrong. I haven't been tricked - been following the team for over 45 years. I have the same feeling about this team that I did in the early 80s - I saw pitching talent developing and talented young position players like Backman and Dykstra coming on board. Will they win a WS? Who knows. All kinds of things can go wrong. Remember that 86 team probably should've lost the WS and they never got back to another one. It's not easy. Only one team wins every year.


I also choose not to be a bitter, pessimistic, nattering nabob of negativism such as yourself and way too many other posters on this site. Life is way too short to be angry about the moves a sports team is making or not making or how much money they are spending or not spending. 


And I will enjoy the season, even if they only win 74 games. Sports provides a diversion from day-to-day drudgery and the opportunity to watch world-class athletes perform. Winning is nice, but not essential. 

Ed
Ed

@nncyel @John R. Ferretti When was the last time Nelson Cruz played 162 games the most he played was 159 and he hit .260 24 HR and 90 RBI's his away split was .244 6 HR 32 RBI's in 2012, not to mention he is coming off a PED suspension so how much of his numbers were due to that.

John Ferretti Jr.
John Ferretti Jr.

Do you not take trends into accoubt? Young has gotten worse the last yhree years...cruz has gotten better.

Idont want a .235 hitter....period. Especially since he isnt a gold glover....hes not even going to play cf...hes a corner of for crying out loud. Keep apologizing for this organization. SA has successfully tricked you. Enjoy your 74 wins.

nncyel
nncyel

@John R. Ferretti  So you're going to base your evaluation on a single season? Knowledgable fans base their evaluation on career stats. Young's averages are .235 BA 24 HR 73 RBI; Cruz .268 BA 32 HR 99 RBI. Is Cruz a better hitter than Young? Yes but the differential isn't that great. When you factor in speed and defense, Young is the better all-around player. And if you consider treating a player's all-around ability - offense, defense, and speed as nonsense it's a good thing you're not a talent evaluator for a baseball team or a GM responsible for assembling a team.

niesesnose
niesesnose

Duda at 1st is a mediocre fielder, it's not his fault he was jerked around and played an OFposition he never should have

jaredman
jaredman

That is a bull assessment, are you pretending that the roster was not full of overpaid and underperforming players, sandy has done a great job shedding all the dead weight off the team, and lets not forget the owners unwillingness to let him spend until this off season. So cowgirl and emus didn't pan out give me one general manager that hits on every signing and i will show you a team that has won the World Series every year In a row, and that hasn't happened

bleck319
bleck319

I agree with your thoughts completely. The cancerous owners are the ones holding this team back. If the payroll were just expanded to the league average, it would make a world of difference. Drew isn't great, but he is a difference maker, and a 2-3 year deal for 20-30 million would not hurt the long run plan.

Of course we don't get the full story about the debt and how it holds ownership back. We have no way of knowing how in the hole they really are since it's not a public company.

Jeff Wilpon is so "in over his head". There is no way to know how much more damage he will cause.

John Ferretti Jr.
John Ferretti Jr.

Every "positive" you just listed have proven nothing on the mlb level...even wheeler. By SA own admission he didnt want byrd, he signed him as a favor.

Prospects are great...how about some wins?

niesesnose
niesesnose

Why does rebuilding the farm system with young pitching not count?

niesesnose
niesesnose

Boy...where do I start with the idiocy of this comment. Well first off how bout those IFA signings? Montero and Amed Rosario were damn good IFA signings. "the few sheckles they've given him have been wasted" Scott Hairston, Scott Rice, Carlos Torres, Marlon Byrd. And even the one really bad signing he made "Frank Frank@ was only a 2 year deal. Cowgirl and Emais are irrelevant. They never hurt the team long term and only stick around for 2-3 months. In 2010 this team had the 26tg ranked farm system. Now they have the 6th. He's set them up to have a staff of Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero and Mejia. He traded a half year of Beltran for our #2 starter. He traded RA Dickey for a guy who projects to be a #1 starter and our franchise catcher. He traded a MONTH of Byrd and Buck for our setup man (Black) and Dilson Herrera, who could easily crack the top 100 in prospects next year. This team could have the best staff in baseball next year thanks to Alderson. Blame the cancerous owners for the teams record, not Alderson

bleck319
bleck319

He's one of the most influential hosts in the history of sports radio. His show has lasted over 25 years. That takes intellect. How's the chip on your shoulder?

niesesnose
niesesnose

"Yeah I got da sawces dat tell me dat da mets, dey made an offa to Drew." Basically half the show is him talking down to his callers and yelling over the him. He's barely above the intellectual level of the mongoloid that is Joe Beningo

nncyel
nncyel

@dreamer3kx @nncyel  Really, speed doesn't help a team score runs? Base-running doesn't help score runs? Guess I just don't understand the game (sarcasm). Young's averages are 24 HR 73 RBI; Cruz 32 HR 99 RBI. Is Cruz a better power hitter than Young? Yes but the differential isn't that great. When you factor in speed and defense, Young is the better all-around player. I'd rather have Wright, Grandy and Young.