Mariners sign free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz to 4-year deal

Cruz Led the Majors with 40 Home Runs in 2014

SEATTLE, Wash. - Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has signed free agent outfielder / designated hitter Nelson Cruz to a 4-year contract through the 2018 season. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

"Our number one goal this off-season was to improve our offense, ideally by adding right-handed power, and with the addition of Nelson Cruz we think we've accomplished that goal," Zduriencik said. "He is an impact hitter that will bat in the middle of our line-up. Nelson has a track record as a middle of the order hitter on pennant contending clubs. He will be an asset on the field and in the clubhouse. Nelson's presence in our clubhouse and as a teammate will continue to help our club advance to the next level. We see him as an ideal fit as we strive toward our goal of winning a World Championship."

Cruz, 34, led the Majors with 40 home runs in 2014, and was third in the Majors with 108 RBI to go along with 32 doubles and 2 triples. He set new single-season career-highs in runs (87), hits (166), HR, RBI, walks (55), extra-base hits (74) and total bases (322) while tying his career-high in games played (159).

"I am excited to join the Mariners," Cruz said. "Watching Seattle play from the other side of the field, I know how close this team is to the post-season, and I am hopeful that I can help to get us there."

Cruz, a right-handed hitting outfielder and designated hitter, was twice named American League Player of the Week last season (weeks ending June 1 & Sept. 7). He played in his third All-Star Game, and was voted a starter for the first time, collecting over 3-million votes at DH. At the conclusion of the season, was voted the Orioles Most Valuable Player by the local Baltimore media. Cruz was also the Orioles nominee for the Hank Aaron Award.

Cruz's 159 games played included starts in left field, right field and as the designated hitter. Baltimore was 95-64 when he started, including 36-24 when he was in left, 8-2 when he was in right and 51-38 when he was the DH.

Cruz has appeared in the postseason in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, including in the ALCS and World Series in 2010 and 2011. He has three All-Star Game appearances (2009, 2013, 2014) and also played in a pair of World Baseball Classic's (2009, 2013) for the Dominican Republic.

Cruz is a 10-year MLB veteran who has appeared in the Majors with Milwaukee (2005), Texas (2006-2013) and Baltimore. In his Major League career, he has appeared in 963 games, hitting a combined .268 with 203 doubles, 10 triples, 197 home runs and 597 RBI. Cruz boasts a career slugger percentage of .501 and a career OPS of .829. In every season in his career in which he has appeared in at least 100 games, Cruz has collected at least 20 home runs and 75 RBI.

Cruz was born in Las Matos de Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic. He played basketball for the Dominican Republic Junior National Team prior to being signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent in 1998. Cruz is married to the former Solani Genoa. They have one daughter, Giada (10/11/12). Nelson also has one son, Nelson Jr. (11/1/08).

Cruz is one of just seven players with 20 or more home runs in each of the past six seasons:

•Nelson Cruz

•Miguel Cabrera

•Matt Holiday

•Brian McCann

•David Ortiz

•Hunter Pence

•Mark Reynolds