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Padres reportedly eyeing familiar former MVP candidate

AJ Preller in the dugout

Jun 6, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller looks on from the dugout before the game against the Washington Nationals at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres may be continuing their mad science experiment.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported Tuesday that the Padres are among the teams interested in free agent slugger Nelson Cruz. Heyman notes that Padres GM AJ Preller, who was previously an executive for the Texas Rangers, spent time in Texas with Cruz.

With seven career All-Star appearances, five total top-ten MVP finishes, four Silver Slugger Awards, and 459 career home runs to his name, Cruz is about as distinguished of a batter as they come. But he is a full-time DH now who will turn 43 next season and hit .234 in 134 games for Washington in 2022.

For their part though, the Padres lost three righty power bats this offseason in Wil Myers, Brandon Drury, and Josh Bell (all of whom signed with other teams in free agency). While they will have to manage the arrivals of both Xander Bogaerts and Matt Carpenter plus the return of Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres also appear to be trying for a consolidation trade. That would make a move for a player like Cruz, who is still reliable as a situational hitter, much more tenable.

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