Thursday, December 27, 2018

Cruz control

I had been getting a little nervous over the fact that my favorite Major League Baseball club was, for the most part, dormant this offseason.

However, they made quite a splash on Thursday.

Free-agent slugger Nelson Cruz has agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins for $14.3 million, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

The deal also features a $12 million team option for 2020, according to the source. Yahoo Sports first reported that the two sides had agreed to a deal.

No player has hit more home runs over the past five seasons than Cruz, with 203, which is 15 more than Giancarlo Stanton. Cruz, 38, who is older than new Twins manager Rocco Baldelli (37), has averaged almost 153 games a year over that same period.

While the Twins' home park of Target Field doesn't exactly have the reputation of being a hitters' paradise, Cruz has hit some Ruth-ian shots there over his career. It's no easy feat to hit a ball into the third deck in left field, but Cruz has done so at least three times.

While with the Texas Rangers in 2011, Cruz hit a veritable moon shot in a June game. Watch the reaction of Twins pitcher Nick Blackburn.

I was at a May 2014 game when Cruz, then a member of the Baltimore Orioles, went upper tank in left. If you look closely in the second deck, you can seem me running towards the aisle in hopes of catching a possible ricochet off the third level. Cruz's shot is about 4:27 into this video.

Yet another no-doubter, this time in 2016 as a Seattle Mariner.

Some might be taken aback that a player at age 38 would command so much money. But given that it's only a one-year deal with a club option for a second year, it is definitely well worth the risk for a guy who over the past five seasons has averaged 153 games, .281 BA, 41 home runs and 104 RBIs (He made four All Star Game appearances in that span). Cruz could also be a valuable veteran presence that Miguel Sano needs in what is being touted as a make-or-break season for a player who has been considered one of the cornerstones of the Twins' long-term future.

This is definitely a good start for the Twins front office brain trust of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. However, more work needs to be done, particularly in the bullpen. Onward and upward!


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