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Game Thread: Twins vs. Seattle, 4/10/21 @ 1:10pm

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:09 PM
Welcome back to the Twins Daily game thread party! After a rare Friday night off the Minnesota Twins will take on the Seattle Mariners t...
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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:09 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 01:52 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
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Ex Twins in 2021: Where Are They Now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:19 PM
One of my favorite annual threads on the site. Let’s stay updated on ex-Twins in the news... This is a start of a list, and feel free to...
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2021 MLB (non-Twins) Season news

Other Baseball Today, 09:54 AM
A thread for news from around Major League Baseball. Tonight in L.A., the Angels will forego their DH in order to let Shohei Ohtani both...
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Nelson Cruz and the Hunt for 500 Home Runs

Nelson Cruz certainly made his presence known during his first start of the 2021 season. After a two-homer game, the 40-year-old slugger has his sights set on one of baseball’s most important milestones, 500 home runs.
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Milestones are part of baseball history and the Twins have plenty of attainable marks throughout the 2021 season. 500 home runs used to be a direct ticket to induction into Cooperstown, but the steroid era has put a cloud over this previously important milestone. Out of the players with more than 500 homers, at least five players have been associated with steroids including Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and Manny Ramirez.

Cruz has also been tied to steroids as he was one of at least 12 players suspended by Major League Baseball in relation to the Biogenesis drug case. At the time, it was the largest mass suspension in sport’s history. In response to the suspension, Cruz blamed the failed test on substances he took to overcome a stomach infection that caused him to lose 40 pounds in the months leading into the 2012 campaign.

Even with this blemish on his resume, one of the biggest reasons Cruz hasn’t reached 500 homers is because he was considered a late bloomer. He didn’t play over 100 games in a big-league season until his age-28 season and he didn’t hit more than 30 homers in a season until he turned 29. He certainly picked up the pace from there with four 40-homer seasons in the 2010s, the most of any player during that decade.

Entering play on Tuesday, Cruz sits at 419 career home runs, which places him just 8 home runs outside the top-50 in baseball history. Since 2014, he has averaged over 40 home runs per season when he has played 120 games or more. He’s been the team MVP in every season since putting on a Twins jersey. However, now that he is in his 40s, Father Time might start to take its toll.

None of the top-5 seasons by players over the age of 40 saw a player hit more than 18 home runs. Cruz would need to set baseball history in order to reach the 500-home run mark. He entered his age-40 season needing 83 home runs to reach this historic milestone, but no player over 40 has ever hit more than 72 home runs total.

Many of the players to have home run success over the age-40 are some of the best power hitters of all-time. Carlton Fisk played until his was 45 years old and added 72 home runs to his career total. Behind him on the list are Darrel Evans (67), Barry Bonds (59), Dave Winfield (59), Raul Ibanez (53), Carl Yastrzemski (48), Stan Musial (46) and Hank Aaron (42).

Cruz searched for a two-year contract this past offseason, but Minnesota wasn’t comfortable with a multi-year deal for an aging slugger. There’s a good chance the National League adds the designated hitter as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, so Cruz may end up having more suitors next off-season.

For now, Twins’ fans can continue to watch one of the game’s best power hitters in his quest for 500 home runs.

Can Cruz reach this milestone? Will he have an opportunity to do it in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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12 Comments

Nelson Cruz: Great pitch recognition plus the ability to put the bat on the ball with authority makes Nellie one of the most feared hitters in baseball . . . still.

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theBOMisthebomb
Apr 05 2021 09:21 PM
How about helping his HOF case with a World Series ring or three with the Twins at the end of his career?!? Along the way he should get to that 500 HR mark.
    • diehardtwinsfan, SwainZag and woolywoolhouse like this
So any implication to steroids for Cruz dates back to 2012, over 9yrs ago. Nothing since. So???

He is Ortiz 2.0. He is a well conditioned and experienced and smart hitter who is very well prepared and ready to go unless I see evidence of anything else.

These kind of players come along once in a while. Witness Brady at QB and the recently retired Brees. Sometimes, you just can't quantify a player's development, nor their career projection.

Unfortunately, there still remains the age factor. Baseball has so few players who exceeded normal production past 40yrs old that at some point you just have to expect a loss of ability.

Right now, Cruz looks like he is ready to defy age and have another good/great season while turning 41 soon. Were I to make a bet, despite his greatness, he will be on the market in 2022 as the Twins will move on to younger talent and not take on the risk.

I'm betting on one more good/great season in the sun before a quiet fade with someone else. Bless him if he could achieve the 500HR milestone but I just don't see it.
    • rdehring likes this
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Doctor Gast
Apr 06 2021 06:35 AM
I remember when I was a young man, I worked for a bricklayer. At around 63, he could work circles around me and I wasn't a slouch. But that was nothing, my boss said he knew a 70+yrs old stone cutter who was stronger than him. I forget how heavy that sledgehammer was but it was very heavy. The point I want to make is that there are people who are extraordinary, people who amazes us. Cruz is one of those people and he'll reach 500
    • rdehring likes this

I think he will do it if NL opens up DH.That is because I think he will play more than 1 more year and a bottom feeding team might bring him on small deal hoping to flip him late in season for a team that still needs some pop.He sure does not look he is slowing down yet. 

 

I do not think he will do it next year.I think this because I expect a work stoppage next year that will go into regular season for awhile.The two sides are so far apart on things and cannot seem to even decide if they will have muffins or bagels at the morning meeting.  

    • Nine of twelve likes this
I hope he gets to 572 and no more.
    • ashbury likes this

 

So any implication to steroids for Cruz dates back to 2012, over 9yrs ago. Nothing since. So???

He is Ortiz 2.0. He is a well conditioned and experienced and smart hitter who is very well prepared and ready to go unless I see evidence of anything else.

Ortiz has the PED tag as well, though for some reason people are going to overlook it and vite him into the HOF anyway. I would assume Cruz wouldn't get in because of the suspension, but 500 homers, a world series ring and postseason heroics would definitely help his case. 

 

Mcgwire has 583 home runs and never got close to getting in. He wasn't mentioned on the PED list in the article either. 

If he can get to 45-50 dingers this year then he's got a good shot. I think he'd take a WS ring over hitting 500 though.
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Nine of twelve
Apr 06 2021 05:15 PM

 

I do not think he will do it next year.I think this because I expect a work stoppage next year that will go into regular season for awhile.The two sides are so far apart on things and cannot seem to even decide if they will have muffins or bagels at the morning meeting.  

Every game lost is very precious time slipping away when there is little to no margin for that. If there is a significant work stoppage I think that seals it. 500 would not happen.

Twins should extend/sign him for 2022 at 15M and option for 2023 at 10M. He needs to win a ws ring and we have that window wide open with him around and the developing young guys. He isn't going to slow down anytime soon.

Evans had only one season as a 40 hr guy and one season in his 30’s. Yastremski lost his power long before 40. Fisk had one season of 30 plus HR for a career, Musial quit being a HR guy by 37. Comparing them to Cruz is pointless. Bonds wrecked a knee at 40 and wasn’t the same player coming back. The lack of context in the comparison is appalling 

 

Every game lost is very precious time slipping away when there is little to no margin for that. If there is a significant work stoppage I think that seals it. 500 would not happen.

I agree that each game he does not play will decrease that chance, but he has shown no signs of slowing, and there has been some hitters play into mid-40's.Not common, but not much about him has been common.He did not break out until nearly 30, and has been just fine into 40.Most players fall off mid-30's after having amazing decade of mid-20's to mid-30's.He is just shifted that timeline right now.As long as a team is wiling to give him some time, I think he will make it.  


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