One thing at which Dan Duquette has excelled since coming to Baltimore is finding good value.
He did that while in Boston with the Red Sox and he has only been adding to his impressive resume since coming here.
Nate McLouth was once an All Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates before falling on hard times. Duquette scooped him up, and McLouth played a big part in the Orioles first playoff appearance in, it seemed, forever (15 years to be exact).
Another example of this is Nelson Cruz, who signed a one-year deal with the Orioles for $8 million. So far this season, Cruz leads all of baseball in home runs (20) and runs batted in (52) as we near the mid-season point. Cruz is also batting .314, and his .384 on-base percentage certainly has made me eat my words from earlier this season when I thought this signing was not good. Yes, I can admit when I’m wrong, at least once in a while.
Cruz has certainly paid dividends since coming to Baltimore. There were quite a few red flags with Cruz, however, especially since he served a 50-game suspension just last year as his name was mentioned in the Biogenesis Scandal. It’s always tough to guess how a player will produce after being suspended for a performance enhancing drug, but Cruz has certainly shown everyone that he can put up big power numbers any which way.
As it stands right now, Cruz is the leading vote-getter for the designated hitter spot at the 2014 All Star Game. With the number he has put up so far, he is certainly worthy of being named among the top players of the first half of this season. Once again, Dan Duquette knew what he was doing, and hopefully next time I will remember that and keep my mouth shut.
by Andy Mindzak