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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

Report: Mets interested in former All-Star slugger

Nelson Cruz wearing a glove

Aug 5, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) warms up before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Twins won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets entered Thursday leading the National League East by 2.5 games. Despite their lead, they reportedly are interested in bringing in at least one big bat to bolster their lineup for the second half of the season.

On Thursday, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that Washington Nationals designated hitter/outfielder Nelson Cruz is on the Mets’ radar.

While the Mets entered Thursday fifth in MLB in runs scored (392), seventh in hits (713) and tied for fourth place in RBI (376), they rank 19th in home runs (79). Both Dom Smith and J.D. Davis have struggled to find consistency at the plate and are two potential lineup spots the Mets could address. Entering Thursday, Smith was hitting .221 with no home runs, 17 RBI and a .327 slugging percentage. Davis had been only slightly better, hitting .240 with two homers, 14 RBI and a .338 slugging percentage in 53 games.

Cruz, 42, could certainly add some power to the Mets’ lineup in place of Smith or Davis. Entering Thursday, he had eight homers and 46 RBI, and a .369 slugging percentage. Among active MLB players, Cruz ranks third in career home runs with 457.

The Mets could also call up Francisco Alvarez, the No. 2 prospect in baseball, to add some offense. But the catcher was just promoted to Triple-A last week, and the organization may not want to rush his development.

According to Heyman, the Mets are reluctant to give up any of their top prospects to add a bat, especially for players who will be free agents after the season. But with Cruz unlikely to command a big return, he seems to be one of the more likely options for the Mets to acquire. The only question may be whether the Nationals are willing to deal Cruz to a division rival.

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