It might be a sign that team has given up on you when you turn on the press conference and see that team’s General Manager passing your old jersey number to their latest free agent signing. Such was the situation today for Nelson Cruz, as the Texas Rangers introduced free agent Shin-Soo Choo, then held up Cruz’s number 17 for their prized free agent acquisition. According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, the Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels isn’t completely closing the door, but the team is moving on:
Daniels said he wouldn’t “100 percent close any doors” on a Cruz reunion, but doesn’t think the slugger will return to Texas.
“I think realistically that his best opportunity may be elsewhere and I’m expecting him to sign elsewhere, but we genuinely care about the guy and appreciate what he’s done here and wanted to communicate that to him personally,” Daniels said.
With the addition of Choo, who will bat leadoff and has a track record on an outstanding on base percentage, plus young middle infielders Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus, along with recently acquired 1B Prince Fielder and mainstay Adrian Beltre, the Rangers lineup will be one of the more potent in the hyper-competitive American League West.
Cruz was also in the center of the Biogenesis Clinic scandal last season, finding himself suspended for the final 50 regular season games. The Rangers were forced into a one-game playoff in which they came up short (Cruz played and was 0-4 with 1 K). Cruz has also been cast as a goat for misplaying a critical fly ball in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series that, if caught, would have given the Rangers their first franchise title.
– David Whitlock
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