Cruisers just seem too good in their AA role in order to make a favourable mass tradeoff likely. Sure, you can get a favourable tradeoff with no enemy ASF presence, no bulwarks, and a lot of torp bombers; but that's essentially requiring your enemy to do everything wrong while you build lots of torp bombers you might never have a good opportunity to use.
So, what if cruiser AA traded off most of its DPS for a large boost in range?
UEF cruiser has 500DPS AA missiles with a range of 75.
It could instead be 200-250DPS at a range of 120.
This would add a lot more depth to the interaction between air and navy.
On the one hand, it would be pretty easy for a torp bomber strike to get a favourable mass tradeoff on a typical fleet with no air support, although a fleet with lots of cruisers could still be tricky.
On the other hand, although now reliant on air support, cruisers would provide much better support to air units.
ASFs would have to give cruisers a wide berth unless they're targeting something valuable enough to justify a few losses, giving your air units far more room to operate in.
The long range AA would also give you an edge in both sending and defending against bombers and scouts.