SEATTLE - Had things come together last season, Nelson Cruzs introduction with the Seattle Mariners would have taken place a year ago.Seattle pursued Cruz last year but when it didnt work out, he went on to lead the majors in home runs playing on a one-year deal in Baltimore. The Mariners were quick to try to find a deal that would work for both sides as soon as this off-season arrived.We were open and honest as we could possibly be and say, This is the guy that we want, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said Thursday. He was the guy we wanted to bring into this organization and it just came together.Seattle landed the right-handed power bat that was a priority this off-season with a $57 million, four-year contract that was finalized Thursday. He gets a $1 million signing bonus payable by Dec. 31 and yearly salaries of $14 million.Cruz parlayed an $8 million, one-year contract with Baltimore into a long deal with the Mariners after hitting 40 homers and driving in 108 runs for the Orioles. Zduriencik said adding a fourth year to the contract — which will take Cruz to age 38 — was critical to getting the deal done.With Nelson, the fact that because hes such a power guy, and in our game today its so difficult to find, Zduriencik said. In our league he can be a DH which will preserve him somewhat, hes in great shape, hes a really good worker. He may age very well. We had to do that to get him here and we did it.Cruz served a 50-game suspension in 2013 for violations of the major league drug agreement in relation to the sports investigation of the Biogenesis of America clinic. He again referred Thursday to making a mistake taking banned substances and said hes moved on from the suspension.Hell likely hit behind fellow Dominican star Robinson Cano, who will be starting the second season of a $240 million, 10-year contract, and will also reunite with Dominican teammate Fernando Rodney, the Mariners closer.Weve been pretty close, Cruz said of Cano. Hes also one of the reasons why Im here. I think he was pulling for me the whole time. I was pulling for this right here, to be part of this.The Mariners have among the top pitching staffs in the AL but missed the post-season by one game last season due to offensive shortcomings.Cruz fits the need, even if hes never posted big numbers at Safeco Field. Cruz has hit at least 22 homers in every season since 2009 and has been an All-Star three times. Cruzs .271 batting average and .525 slugging percentage last season with Baltimore was his highest since 2010 with Texas.Cruz has hit .240 with nine homers and 19 RBIs in 52 games in Seattle — better than his .185 career average in Oakland and .218 in Anaheim.I just believe great players make players around them better and I think having Nelson in the middle of our lineup is not only going to give (Cano) a lot more pitches to hit, but whoever is hitting behind him will have an opportunity to drive in runs as well, Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. Obviously, hes going to make guys better around him in that lineup.The middle of Seattles order is no longer filled with questions. With Cano, Cruz and All-Star Kyle Seager, the Mariners have a legitimate 3-4-5 to build around. McClendon said Cruz would be primarily a designated hitter but also would be used in the outfield. Cruz played 70 games in the outfield for Baltimore last season.The Mariners would still like to add another offensive piece to further solidify that lineup and expect to be involved in a lot of conversations at the Winter Meetings. Zduriencik acknowledged that a few years ago Seattle may not have been a desirable place for free agents to consider.I think the perception of this organization is changing, Zduriencik said.NOTES: Cruz received a limited no-trade provision. Within 30 days of the deals approval by Major League Baseball, he can designate eight teams he cannot be traded to without his approval during 2015-16. He would get a $50,000 bonus if elected to start in the All-Star game, $25,000 if selected as a reserve and $50,000 each for winning a Gold Glove or Silver Slugger. He also would get $150,000 if hes voted MVP, $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP and $100,000 for World Series MVP. Kyle Lewis Mariners Jersey . The Braves optioned outfielder Jose Constanza to Triple-A Gwinnett. As expected, the Braves also called up right-hander Julio Teheran from Gwinnett to start Sundays game and optioned backup catcher J. Hisashi Iwakuma Jersey . -- The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with safety Brock Vereen and QB David Fales on four-year contracts. https://www.cheapmariners.com/775k-hisashi-iwakuma-jersey-mariners.html . Bring on Freddy Garcia. The well-travelled 36-year-old right-hander earned his second NL victory since 2007, and his first since he joined the Atlanta Braves last month, pitching six innings to help beat Miami 6-1 Thursday. Seattle Mariners Gear . - PGA Tour rookie Tony Finau shot a 9-under 63 at Del Monte and had a two-stroke lead over Billy Andrade and Lee Janzen of the Champions Tour after Thursdays opening round of the Callaway Pebble Beach Invitational. Kyle Seager Jersey . Picard had a goal and two assists to help Canada improve to 2-0 at the tournament. Seven different players scored for the two-time defending champions. "Today all four lines played excellent," said head coach Laura Schuler.ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues won a franchise record 52 games this season and general manager Doug Armstrong cant help but sum it up as a disappointment. "Were in the winning business and were not winning at the appropriate time of the year," Armstrong said Tuesday. "We have to fix that." The past two playoffs have been a carbon copy for the Blues. In 2013, St. Louis won the first two games against Los Angeles at home and then dropped the next four to the then-defending Stanley Cup champions. This season, St. Louis got the jump on defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, then again lost four straight to end the season. Armstrong said that this years loss to the Blackhawks was worse. "I felt last year that we were coming off of a year where no one expected us to be good the year before and we wanted to prove that we were a good team," Armstrong said. "I expected us to take it to a higher level this year and the higher level was going to be a consistent regular season followed by a longer playoff run. So, this year, theres a true sense that we have squandered an opportunity and opportunities dont come a lot in this league." While the Blues have been one of the best teams each of the past three regular seasons -- St. Louis had 60 points in a lockout shortened 2012-13 campaign and 109 points in 2011-12 -- it has been a different story in April. Armstrong and coach Ken Hitchcock said that the Blues need to develop a killer instinct if they are to get over their post-season hump. "We werent able to create the gap in Games 3 and 4 and win on the road, which you have to do in the playoffs," Hitchcock said. "Thats the killer instinct that you need to have. We werent able to do it in either series, aand it hurts.dddddddddddd "Thats everyones responsibility. Mine, Dougs, the players, other coaches, everybody. Thats the part that hurts. We couldnt apply the killer instinct in Games 3 and 4 when we needed to in both years." Several players have been a part of the past three seasons, and figure to be part of the puzzle moving forward: forwards T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen and David Backes, and defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo. Armstrong said it his responsibility to see if this core group can get to a new level or whether changes are needed. "I look at the regular season success this team has had over the last three years," Armstrong said "I think our point total is probably in the top three or four in the NHL over that time frame. So, were doing some things correctly. But were not doing enough correctly to win in April, May and June. Quite honestly, I got to quit worrying about May. We got to get out of April first and were not doing that." One area that will need to be addressed is goaltending. The Blues thought they had added the final piece when the traded for Ryan Miller just before the deadline. But Miller, who is a free agent, allowed 19 goals against the Blackhawks and his save percentage was just .897. Armstrong said that Jake Allen, who had another strong year in the American Hockey League, will be one of the teams net minders. Who the will partner with Allen is up in the air. "Its a two-way street with Ryan right now," Armstrong said. "He has opportunities. I want to sit and talk with him and get his feelings about our organization. See where he thinks were at, see if he even has any interest in being a St. Louis Blue." ' ' '