The myth of the power fix

Ready to spend on a guy like Nelson Cruz? There's cause for caution

Updated: December 1, 2013, 2:35 PM ET
By Dave Cameron | ESPN Insider

Nelson CruzAP Photo/Tim SharpNelson Cruz is that rare right-handed power bat. But "rare" and "valuable" aren't the same thing.

Nelson Cruz is the kind of free agent who comes with a ton of red flags.

He's heading into his age-33 season, has been historically injury-prone -- having suffered a collection of injuries that tend to reoccur -- and has played in more than 130 games only once in his career. Although he has played in a hitter-friendly ballpark in Texas, his career on-base percentage is .327, and over the past three years, it's just .319. He's not a particularly good defensive player and could very likely have to move to DH in a year or two. Oh, and he's coming off a 50-game suspension after being connected to the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

With all that in mind, Cruz is reportedly looking for a long-term contract after turning down the Rangers' qualifying offer of $14 million for 2014.

There are plenty of valid reasons for teams to avoid paying big money to Cruz, but he didn't make a mistake in turning down the Rangers' offer of arbitration, as he knows that he possesses a skill that is becoming rarer and rarer in today's game: right-handed power.