The Mariners had a deal in place last offseason with outfielder Nelson Cruz that was scuttled by ownership at the last minute, according to a report by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The deal would have paid Cruz $7.5 million in 2014 and included a $9 million option for 2015, but ultimately was cancelled before the Orioles signed Cruz to a one-year, $8 million deal in late February.
Cruz was excellent for the Orioles this season, hitting .271/.333/.525 with 40 home runs and 108 RBI in 159 games while helping lead the team to their first AL East title since 1997. Today's news of a scuttled deal with the Mariners may come as a gut punch for Seattle fans, as the M's looked for a right-handed hitting power bat throughout the season and ultimately fell one game short of a Wild Card berth after failing to sign Cruz before the season.
Although the cancelled contract likely played a role in the Mariners failing to make the playoffs this season, they have a chance to make up for their mistake when Cruz hits free agency again this winter. The 34-year old is known to be interested in an extension with the Orioles, but is likely to reach the open market and once again listen to offers from interested clubs.
According to Dutton, one Mariners official wouldn't rule out a pursuit of Cruz this winter due to the team's persistent lack of right-handed hitting power. The Orioles remain as the strong favorite to re-sign him and have even tried to negotiate an extension with him throughout the postseason, so it seems as though a Cruz-to-Mariners deal may never come to be.