The Orioles’ Nelson Cruz said there is a lot to like about his situation with the team. A free agent at the end of this season, the major league’s home run leader said that the Orioles have approached him about a possible contract extension.
Cruz signed a one-year deal for $8 million, which has turned into a bargain for the Orioles, on Feb. 24. He is batting .256 with 34 homers, 88 RBIs, a .510 slugging percentage and an .834 OPS.
“Just means they are interested,” Cruz said this afternoon. “I’m also interested to be a part of this for a long time. But I understand it’s a business, and whatever they think is the best for the team, they’ll do.”
Cruz’s 34 homers is a career high. When he hit No. 30 on Aug. 9, he became the 19th different Oriole with a 30-homer season.
While he is obviously open to in-season contract talks with the club, he is also staying more focused on what is happening on the field right now as the Orioles pursue their first American League East title since 1997.
“I just let my agent do it,” Cruz said. “Right now it is nothing serious, just talking. I don’t want to create a distraction for me or the team. Right now, we are in a race and we like to keep it like that. Stay focused on what is important for me and the team and that is to focus on the race.”
Earlier today, a CBSSports.com story suggested Cruz and the club could move toward a new deal.
It is pretty clear Cruz and the Orioles has been a good match so far. I asked Cruz what he has liked the most about being an Oriole.
“Everything. Nice clubhouse, nice guys, great coaches, good fans,” he said. “Makes for the right atmosphere to come every day and bring everything to win.
“I’ve been part of the playoffs before and I know how important it is as a player to be a part of a team like this.”