Saturday, January 04, 2014


So that title sounded a bit dirtier than expected. Well, as far as you know. Is it my fault he calls his bat (and perhaps other things) his boomstick? Should that be capitalized? Boomstick? Even more emphatic? BOOMstick? Hows about all caps? BOOMSTICK? Well, regardless of how you type it, you know you are all just jealous/disappointed you didn't think of a sweet name like that, first. Wow, really got off on a tangent there, huh? Alright, on to the ongoing free agency of Nelson Cruz. As The Boomstick Turns? Darn, that would have been mostly less dirty title. But, if I had gone there, you, my loyal reader (and I do mean as in "you" the singular reader) would not have been treated to a sweet paragraph about the word/name BOOMSTICK. So, you are welcome for that delicious stream of consciousness. Anyways, on we go with As The Boomstick Turns.

So, once upon a time (around the time Nelson Cruz dubbed his lumber, BOOMSTICK) Nelson Cruz would hit many balls, many, many feet from home plate. Cruz was a household name...if your household was either in the greater Arlington, Texas area or filled with baseball nerds and the likes. Cruz is still a name, but with less cache. Maybe cache is not the word. Clout? Less clout? Let's go with that, shall we? Okay, so, although he has seemed to be hitting about the same every year, he has seem to fall off because, well, he is not a superstar as some expected he might become. I think it was the BOOMSTICK factor or something. Well, anyways, our tale brings us to 2014 and the Nelson Cruz free agency tour.

Okay, so the title of this post, may be a tad misleading, but if you want to see some actual insight into where Cruz might make the best fit (which right now is pretty much nowhere) head over to Fangraphs and let Jeff Sullivan lay it out for you. So, I am not so much going to look into where Nelson's BOOMSTICK will end up, but more at why some places are a bad fit for Cruz and the aforementioned BOOMSTICK. Actually, that is phrased sort of incorrectly. What I mean is, why a certain thing is preventing him from being a good fit in certain somewhere.

Cruz does not add much, except pop, that I get. He did, D-I-D, did, have some decent fielding years for the Rangers, but has been a minus defender the past few seasons. Here, yes here is where I take issue. As Mr. Sullivan and several other pundits have pointed out the problem for most teams signing Mr. Cruz and his BOOMSTICK (yes I love the word BOOMSTICK, deal with it!) is that right field is pretty well manned. Now, in many of these cases, there is mention that left field is also somewhat covered, but it wouldn't matter much anyways, because Cruz has does not play left field. This kind of flummoxed me a tad bit and maybe my ignorance is showing (I do my best to cover it, but it does not always work out) here, but is that really such a big deal?

Now Cruz has played some games in left field, but only 59 over his career, so I get that that is not his true position, but is this a transition that would be that difficult? Would he forget which side of the outfield he was on and throw the ball in the opposite direction? If anything, left field is the easiest of the three outfield positions, right? It's not Little League, where you stick the kid whose dad is forcing him to play, but couldn't catch a cold, in right field, this is the major leagues. You stick that kid in left. Metaphorically speaking, that is. I mean, Manny Ramirez played left field for crying out loud! And not well, much of the time!

Again, I'm aware that Cruz's fielding is not stellar, put perhaps it would be better if he were in left? Obviously that is conjecture. Even if it were not the case, there's no need to pretend that signing him, even in right, would have much to do with his glove. While Cruz did have the 13th best UZR among right fielders in '13, that is a number that has been in decline each of the past five seasons. Look, I don't know where Cruz will end up or that he is a perfect anywhere, but what I do think, is that there is no need to dismiss him playing left field in 2014.

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