Buzz is building for a Nelson Cruz signing by the Mariners.
Jon Heyman of CBS reports that things have gotten “a bit more serious” in the last few days. That’s a continuation of the “back in business” theme that was making the rounds last week.
It seems that new President Kevin Mather really did loosen the purse strings, and that word has gotten out. Heyman also mentions Mariner interest in Fernando Rodney, though its not clear if the M’s would sign both.
The only other team seriously linked to Cruz is Baltimore, but it’s quite possible that the Orioles are wisely waiting for either Cruz or Kendrys Morales to fall in their lap at a discount. Hard to argue with that approach.
This is how I understand the draft pick issue:
- The first-round pick (#6 overall) is protected.
- A compensation pick (currently #30) would come back to Seattle if a team signs Morales before the draft, but if Morales is not signed until after the draft, then the M’s get nothing.
- Signing Robinson Cano means the M’s forfeit the highest unprotected pick. As of right now, that is the second-round pick (currently #46). But, if someone signs Morales, then the compensation pick will be higher, and the M’s would forfeit #30 and keep #46.
- Signing Cruz would mean forfeiting the next-highest pick. As of right now, that is the Competitive Balance Pick B (extra draft picks added in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement), which is currently #75. But, if someone signs Morales, then the next-highest pick would be the #46.
Yikes! I have to say “currently” because the number of compensation picks will change based on who signs where. But let’s just assume they stay static, and the compensation pick is #30, the second-round pick is #46 and the competitive balance pick is #75. Under that assumption, here’s how it plays out:
Cano signed, Morales signs with other team, no Cruz:
M’s forfeit #30 (Cano), keep #46 and #75
Cano & Cruz sign, Morales signs with other team:
M’s forfeit #30 (Cano) and #46 (Cruz), keep #75
Cano signed, Morales does not sign until after draft, no Cruz (where things are at this moment):
M’s don’t get #30, forfeit #46 (Cano), keep #75
Cano & Cruz sign, Morales does not sign until after draft:
M’s don’t get #30, forfeit #46 (Cano) & #75 (Cruz)
So, is this complicated enough?
If it turns out that Morales does not sign until after the draft, then Heyman is right that the M’s only give up #75 for signing Cruz. But if Morales signs, then they would give up #46.
And, of course, the actual numbers are subject to change.