For the majority of the offseason, Orioles fans were starting to doubt Dan Duquette and the Orioles organization. From having to release two recently signed players who failed their physicals to not pushing for some much desired prospects, Orioles fans were wondering if this was the Orioles of old showing their true colors. Despite signing players like David Lough, nobody was really happy with what Duquette was doing.
Who would have guessed though that just a couple of weeks before the team had their first Spring Training game was when Duquette and his staff would start making moves. It all began when Suk-min Yoon posted a picture on Twitter of himself with an Orioles hat on. A couple of days later it was announced that Yoon signed a three-year deal, worth $5.75 million. This multi-year contract was a huge win for the Orioles as they had to spend close to nothing for this potential ace.
Soon there after the Orioles announced the signing of right hander, Ubaldo Jimenez. His four-year, $50 million contract is the longest one Baltimore has ever given out to a free-agent starting pitcher. So the Orioles have their pitchers; that is great. Fans were still upset because they did not sign a solid bat that could compliment Chris “Crush” Davis‘ power. Then this morning arrived as I woke up, looked at my phone and received an update from ESPN saying the Orioles agreed to a one year deal with Nelson Cruz worth $8 million. My first reaction was: “Are you serious?!”
I remember mid-December rumors of the Orioles potentially signing Cruz. Yet, those rumors seemed to disappear as quickly as a Christmas decorations on December 26. Duquette obviously was working hard on a deal with the right fielder. Cruz will not only be a great asset in the field, maintaining a .983 fielding percentage in the outfield over nine seasons of play, but he very well may be the missing piece to the puzzle that is Baltimore’s offense.
Nobody can deny that over the past five seasons, Cruz has developed himself into a reliable power hitter in Major League Baseball. Cruz has averaged 27 home runs since the 2009 season. Not only that, but Cruz is a consistent hitter as well. Over his career, he has hit .268/.327/.495. Cruz is just what the team needs. He can be put anywhere in the lineup and make an impact. From leading off to right behind Davis for a cool “one-two punch” like Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken once were for Baltimore.
Wherever he is placed, signing Cruz is a big win for the Orioles organization. It also reassured Baltimore Orioles fans that Dan Duquette has the team’s best interest in mind. He is not content with just being competitive. Duquette wants to bring a World Series Championship back to Baltimore. These three signings in a week and a half’s time proved that. Just like Baltimore Ravens fans say, “In Ozzie we trust,” Orioles fans will start saying, “In Duquette we trust.”