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#pounditMonday, February 6, 2023

Articles tagged: Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz lands deal with NL contender

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 Nelson Cruz Show is officially back on the air for a 19th season.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Wednesday that the veteran slugger Cruz has signed a one-year deal worth $1 million with the San Diego Padres. Cruz is expected to get ample at-bats for the Padres at the designated hitter spot, Passan adds.

Cruz, who turns 43 in July, hit .234 with ten home runs and 64 RBIs in 124 games for the Washington Nationals last season. While the Padres play in a more pitcher-friendly ballpark, the righty-hitting Cruz should help fill the power void left behind by the free agent departures of Brandon Drury and Josh Bell (who got most of the time at DH in the second half of last year).

We had shared earlier this week that a move for Cruz was a real possibility for the Padres. After making the NLCS in 2022, San Diego is going for it all this offseason, adding the seven-time All-Star Cruz to their growing list of recent acquisitions along with Xander Bogaerts, Matt Carpenter, and a notable pitcher that they beat out a rival team for.

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.

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.

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

Nelson Cruz had to pay up to wear No. 23 for Rays

Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz has worn No. 23 at every MLB stop he’s made since 2014. The same will be true with the Tampa Bay Rays, but the number did not come cheap.

Cruz has been the subject of trade rumors for weeks, and the topic came up at the MLB All-Star Game last week. Cruz said Rays coaches joked with him at the game that he would have to do something big to convince pitching coach Kyle Snyder to part with the number.

Cruz is doing that: he said Friday that he plans on getting Snyder a Rolex to land the number.

Even a cheap Rolex is going to run Cruz four figures, and the high-end ones are worth upwards of $50,000. Of course, Cruz is making $13 million this year, so he can certainly afford it.

Cruz can look at it this way: the price probably could have been way higher.

Miguel Sano honors Nelson Cruz by wearing his pants in game

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano paid tribute to his traded teammate on Thursday in an interesting way.

Nelson Cruz was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in the biggest pre-deadline move so far. Sano was sad to see his former teammate go and honored Cruz by wearing the DH’s pants.

This isn’t exactly new for them, as they did a pants swap in February, though it went the other way around.

The pants brought Sano a little bit of luck. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, double and run scored in his Minnesota Twins’ 3-2 loss to the Angels.

Cruz, who was in his third season with Minnesota, made the All-Star team this season. Like Sano, he is from the Dominican Republic.

Nelson Cruz acquired by Rays in trade with Twins

Nelson Cruz

The Tampa Bay Rays appear set to be the first team to make a major deal ahead of MLB’s trade deadline.

The Rays are finalizing a trade to acquire outfielder Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins, ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported on Thursday.

Pitching prospects Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman are being sent to Minnesota as part of the deal. Strotman, 24, was a 2017 4th-round pick. He is 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA in Triple-A this season. Ryan, 25, was a 7th-round pick in 2018. He is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA in Triple-A this season.

The 41-year-old Cruz has long been one of the game’s best sluggers, and that has continued despite the Twins’ struggles. Cruz has 19 home runs on the season and was named an All-Star for the seventh time in his career. The veteran outfielder is on a one-year deal, so the Rays are essentially renting him for the remainder of the season.

With the Twins struggling, Cruz was attracting widespread interest from around the league ahead of the July 31 deadline. The Rays, who sit just one game behind Boston for first place in the AL East, are the ones who have won the race and given themselves a big leg up for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.

Report: Blue Jays, A’s interested in Nelson Cruz trade

Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz is once again having an incredibly productive season, and the Minnesota Twins are widely expected to trade him since they are out of playoff contention. At least two teams are interested in the seven-time All-Star, and there will likely be more.

The Oakland A’s and Toronto Blue Jays are possible suitors for Cruz, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

The Blue Jays are 44-40 and eight games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They already have one of the best offenses in baseball and lead the league with 128 home runs, so Cruz would make their already potent lineup even more dangerous.

Oakland is 49-39 and 5.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West. They rank near the middle of MLB in most offensive categories.

Cruz turned 41 earlier this month, but he is having one of the best seasons of his career. He’s batting .304 with 18 home runs, 45 RBI and an OPS of .939. He signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Twins prior to the season.

Nelson Cruz has funny response to Anthony Edwards’ Alex Rodriguez comments

Nelson Cruz

Minnesota Twins DH Nelson Cruz wants to help fix Anthony Edwards’ nonexistent baseball knowledge in light of Edwards’ recent comments about Alex Rodriguez.

Edwards, a rookie for the Minnesota Timberwolves, hilariously professed to having no idea who Rodriguez is after the former MLB star joined the ownership group set to purchase the team. Most people were stunned that any athlete wouldn’t know who Rodriguez is considering he’s one of the most famous athletes in the last 25 years.

Cruz had a solution for Edwards, tweeting the NBA rookie an offer to host him at a Twins game.

We don’t really know how much Edwards really wants to learn about baseball, but he’s unlikely to get a better offer. After all, the Twins were a playoff team in 2020. Plus, Cruz would certainly be able to afford a pretty comfortable experience. The explanation about who A-Rod is can come for free, though.

Nelson Cruz returns to Twins for $13 million

Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz will be returning to the Minnesota Twins for the 2021 season.

Cruz and the Twins agreed to a one-year deal worth $13 million. This will mark Cruz’s third year in a row serving as the Twins’ DH.

Cruz looked like he might have a bigger job market this offseason after MLB proposed a season with a universal DH. But after the MLBPA rejected the proposal, MLB pushed ahead with a season that would go by the usual rules, meaning the NL wouldn’t have a DH.

Cruz may be 40, but his age hasn’t hindered his ability to mash. He has batted .308/.394/.626 with 57 homers in 163 games over the last two years and finished top-10 in MVP voting both years.

The Twins have won the AL Central two years in a row and led MLB in nearly every major offensive category in 2019. Bringing Cruz back will help them make a run at those marks in 2021.