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#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Dodgers linked to ex-home runs leader in free agency

Dave Roberts in Dodgers hat

The Los Angeles Dodgers sound ready to make the most of the universal designated hitter rule this season.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Saturday that the Dodgers are pursuing veteran slugger Nelson Cruz in free agency. Rosenthal adds that Cruz will likely command a salary similar to what he got last season – one year for roughly $13 million.

The former AL home runs leader Cruz is 41 years old now, but he definitely can still pack a punch. Between the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays last season, Cruz hit 32 home runs and batted in 86 runs. Cruz was also selected to the seventh All-Star team of his MLB career.

Cruz has made just ten total appearances in the field since 2017, so it is pretty clear what his role is at this point. But the universal DH opens up his market to the entire National League, where Cruz has not played since his rookie season with Milwaukee way back in 2005.

The Dodgers have a bit greater need for a lefty bat after Corey Seager exited for the Texas Rangers, and they are trying to address that need as well. But the right-handed Cruz could fill the Albert Pujols role for them or maybe even become the Dodgers’ full-time designated hitter next season.

Photo: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports

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