If Mets fans think the team could have landed Nelson Cruz for the deal he signed yesterday back before the New Year, I've got a bridge to sell them. The two situations are complete different and any attempt to compare the two is nonsensical.
In reaction to the news of the Cruz deal, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told David Lennon of NewsDay the following:
"It's not just a different time frame, it's a different type of player. I'm not here to
critique Nelson Cruz, but he's a very different player. He brings power to the table,
no question about that. Doesn't bring the defense. Doesn't really have our approach,
necessarily. This is not a 'gee whiz, if we-just waited' moment for us. We're happy
with Chris Young.''
Fans will view this as a ringing endorsement for Chris Young, but they must both realize and understand that Alderson simply cannot take to the podium and say "we wish we would have signed Cruz." That's not how you manage personnel. Alderson was tasked with rebuilding the team's outfield this winter. Striking early with Chris Young may have been an overpay, but it was also an attempt to get out ahead of the free agent market when things seemed to be spiraling out of control. Two months later when teams are out of money and free agents are out of appealing options, and yesterday's deal is the result.
Finally, for those who feel the Mets should have signed Cruz despite the fact that they already have a full outfield. If you were a free agent outfielder settling for a one-year deal which you hope to use to elevate your stock for next winter, would you choose to take most of your at-bats in Camden Yards or Citi Field? That answer is easy.
Will Nelson Cruz hit more home runs than Young in 2014? Will he hit for a higher average? Would he have solidified the meat of the Mets' lineup better than Chris Young? Probably. However, none of that changes the fact that these things don't happen in a vacuum. Expecting the team's front office to see the future without fail is unrealistic. Chris Young is a Met. Nelson Cruz isn't. Fans need to realize that its very unlikely that was ever going to happen, regardless of when you think Alderson should have sealed the deal.