December 28, 2018

Twins get their man in Nelson Cruz

Despite being in the twilight of his career, a rumored deal for slugger Nelson Cruz (who turns 39 in July) became a reality Thursday after the club and Cruz agreed on a one-year deal worth $14 million, according to various reports. The Twins also have a $12 million club option for 2020 with a $300,000 buyout, according to MLB.com.

This deal will make a whole lot of sense if Cruz can continue to produce at the plate as he has the past four seasons. Over that span, he hit 37 or more home runs per season, including 44 in 2015. And he did that at Safeco Field in Seattle, a ballpark known for being difficult on power hitters. If Cruz could do that at Safeco, Target Field should be a cinch.

The Twins slugged 166 home runs last season, which ranked 12th out of 15 teams in the American League. But the Twins are likely to surpass that total if all holds true and the team gets 30 home runs out of Cruz, C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, plus a consistent contribution out of Eddie Rosario and noticeable improvement from Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. If all goes as planned, the Twins are poised to have a fairly formidable lineup.

However, now that Cruz is here, speculation has it that ex-Yankee prospect Tyler Austin is out of a job because Cruz will fill the designated hitter slot. I’m happy to have Cruz over Austin, but I still think the Twins need to find that starting pitcher who can replace Ervin Santana.

Some reaction to the Cruz news:

 

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.