Nelson Cruz Has Baseball Roots in Milwaukee

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Nelson Cruz, Milwaukee Brewers Card

May 27, 2014

There are plenty of Orioles-Brewers storylines to be had during this week's Interleague series, including a storyline about trading away Nelson Cruz that the team and its fans would likely rather forget.

Before getting to Cruz, here are some other potential storylines:

-There's the Khris Davis-Chris Davis name game angle that the Brewers have promoted.

-There's the teams' shared history from their A.L. East days, including a thrilling 1982 division race that came down to the final game of the season. Daniel Orkent based his book "Nine Innings: The Anatomy of a Baseball Game" on an O's-Brewers game from that 1982 season.

-There's Mark Reynolds reuniting with his former O's teammates, as Dan Connolly wrote about in his Orioles Notebook on Monday. 

-There's former Oriole Francisco Rodriguez posting an MLB-best 17 saves while the O's struggle for ninth inning continuity.

-Speaking of relievers, both teams can lay claim to Dennis Sarfate. (Whose hat will he wear into the Hall?)

-And of course there's J.J. Hardy's appearance on "The Young and the Restless" during his time with the Brewers.

Hardy, Reynolds, and Rodriguez all figured prominently in the outcome of Monday's 10-inning, Orioles comeback victory at Milwaukee. Thankfully for the O's, Rodriguez went off script and blew his second save of the 2014 season.

The outcome was something Brewers fans would like to forget, just as they'd like to forget that the man helping keep Baltimore's offense afloat for much of this season debuted for the Brewers in 2005 and was part of what turned out to be a terrible trade for the organization.

Cruz appeared in eight games for the Brewers in 2005 and had one hit in seven plate appearances. He played another 106 games in the minors in 2006 (.302/.378/.528 with 20 home runs and 73 RBI) before the Brewers traded him to the Texas Rangers as part of a trade deadline deal. The Brewers packaged Cruz with Carlos Lee, a free agent at season's end, for Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix, and Francisco Cordero.

For context on the deal, read Dave Radcliffe's article on the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Radcliffe notes in hindsight, "when you trade two All-Star caliber players for what amounted to a good relief pitcher and two replacement level (at best) outfielders, you lost the trade." And here is the AP news story about the deal.

Texas manager Buck Showalter used Cruz as a pinch hitter during his first Rangers apperance on July 28, 2006

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