Would Youth Have Been Served if the Astros Signed Nelson Cruz in the Offseason?
With all the Yordan Alvarez hype going around baseball right now, it almost didn’t happen this year. The Astros were reportedly interested in a designated hitter only hitter in Nelson Cruz. It was reported that even after signing Brantley in December, the Astros were still interested in adding Cruz. If that had happened, Alvarez would have been blocked like Kyle Tucker is right now.
However, the Astros didn’t really want to clog up the DH slot with a bat only option. Plus, I’m guessing the offered Cruz a cheap one year deal to join a World Series contender. Seeing Cruz’s bat in the middle of the Astros lineup would have helped, but would he have been better than what Alvarez has done in his first x games.
The 39-year-old Cruz is having a great season leading the powerful Twins lineup. A day after hitting three homers in a game for the second time this year, he has reached 30 homers already. Cruz is batting .295 with 72 RBI and a robust 1.039 OPS. For his age, Cruz is rewarding the Twins for the $14.3 million he got, and his 2020 team option will likely be picked up.
Comparing the two sluggers.
Just for fun, let’s compare Alvarez’s and Cruz’s stats since Alvarez made his MLB debut. Since Alvarez made his MLB on June 9th, he was recently named rookie of the month for the second straight month. But has he been better than the slugging Cruz the Astros wanted to have?
Cruz: .317/ .414/ .744 / 1.158/ 20 homers/ 47 RBI and the Twins had a 23-20 record during those games.
Alvarez: .338/ .420/ .689/ 1.109/ 13 homers/ 40 RBI and the Astros have a 23-17 record since his debut.
Don’t forget that Alvarez has sat out a lot of the games versus the National League teams including at Coors Field. Alvarez appears to be a pure hitter with power, but Cruz has done well this year. Just imagine how good the Astros would have been if they had signed Cruz?
On a side note, Cruz’s first 39 games this year he had a .270 batting average with only 10 homers and 25 RBI. Would that been that much of an upgrade over the Astros DH situation at the time before Alvarez?
A parallel universe?
The Astros have a 72-40 record while the Twins sit at 68-42 in first place in the AL Central. Fans get to see Alvarez break records for RBI in his first 40 games. Before Alvarez, the Astros used the DH to give starters a day off here and there. Tyler White and Tony Kemp would have probably been DFAed earlier because they wanted Alvarez up.
The Astros may have made a better attempt at getting Alvarez ready to play first base. With the money the Astros could have spent on Cruz, would they have signed Wade Miley or make the trade for Zack Greinke? Either way, the Astros made the right decision on not going over Cruz’s value to sign him. Who could have predicted he have the season he’s having at 39?
Would you rather have had Cruz all year or witness “Youth Being Served” in Alvarez? It’s like stepping into, The Twilight Zone. I will discuss this on tonight’s Locked On Astros podcast tonight.