According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Minnesota Twins have signed free-agent designated hitter Nelson Cruz. The team has not yet confirmed the deal.
Free agent slugger Nelson Cruz has agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Twins, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 27, 2018
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand also had the news:
Nelson Cruz and the Twins have agreed to a deal, according to a source. @JeffPassan was first.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 27, 2018
And Jon Heyman of FanCred had the length:
Nelson Cruz agrees to Twins deal. 1 year plus option.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 27, 2018
And Enrique Rojas of ESPN had the financials:
Fuente: Dominicano Nelson Cruz acuerda con #Twins. $14 millones por un año y opción de $12 millones con $300 mil en cláusula de escape. Pendiente fïsico.
— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) December 27, 2018
To translate that, it’s $14 million for 2019, a $12 million option for 2020 and a $300,000 buyout.
Dan Hayes of The Athletic clarifies that it’s $14.3 million for 2019:
Source: Nelson Cruz’s deal is one year guaranteed for $14.3 million. Earns $14m in 2019. Club option in 2020 for $12m with $300K buyout. #MNTwins
— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesMLB) December 27, 2018
Cruz was a bit of a late bloomer, as he didn’t emerge with the Texas Rangers until 2008 when he was 27 years old. That year he hit .330/.421/.609 in 128 games with 33 homers — the first of what’s now six 30-homer seasons.
Cruz has hit 30 home runs in each of the last five years — peaking at 44 in 2015.
He’ll also turn 39 in July, and is nearly 15 months older than Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.
It’ll be a reunion of sorts for Cruz with Twins general manager Thad Levine, who was second in command to current Rangers head man Jon Daniels prior to taking the job with Minnesota. Cruz left the Rangers after the 2013 season, spending 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles before playing the last four seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
Cruz was suspended 50 games for PEDs at the beginning of the 2013 season, but came back to play 109 games with 27 homers and a slash line of .266/.327/.506.
In the five years since the suspension, Cruz has hit .281/.356/.541 and has averaged 44 homers per 162 games played.
The Twins have added significant power to their lineup this offseason with Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and CJ Cron, and it’ll be worth wondering how much of an influence Cruz will have on Miguel Sano, whose future hangs in the balance due to injuries and off-field issues.
Both men are from the Dominican Republic — on opposite sides about 200 miles apart, however — and Cruz is known as meticulous when it comes to preparation. Regardless, getting to the late 30s while still remaining an impact player in the big leagues means he certainly has wisdom to impart to Sano.