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Is Cruz a MUST signing? And what if he doesn't fit?

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#1 DocBauer

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 07:35 PM

Let me state I love Cruz and want him back if possible. I not only believe he brings class, experience, knowledge and leadership to the team but I feel he has one more really good season left in him. Beyond that 1yr is a huge question mark based on history alone, if nothing else. Any idea of a 2nd year to a deal is rather obviously a potential stumbling block based on $ and an acceptance he could easily be average at best come said 2nd year option. And to me, "option" is the key word here. A second year that IS an option may be the key. Less $ and either a nice buyout of $4-5M, OR, a clause that kicks in based on number of AB/PA may be key. In other words, if he's good enough to appear that many times, he'd be worth brining back for a 2nd year, even at diminished production. I still believe any form of 2nd year would have to be at a slightly lower $ just based on reality.

I hear numbers of $15-18M per, or at least for year one. I'm not sure I buy that, especially considering there is no report that the NL will have the DH in 2021. Cruz wants to wait and see. I get that. But how long is too long for all involved? Even if it happens, it could be last minute as it was in 2020.

The more I try to play with blueprint options on paper, read and listen to other ideas, the more I'm coming to grips with the idea Cruz may simply not fit going forward. And my brain has been turning and burning all the more after a very smart broadcast from John and Aaron while discussing this very topic.

There were some very interesting options brought up:

1] Ozuna: He doesn't have the career numbers of Cruz, or the consistency. But he's a nice 30yr old bat who is best as a DH but can play some OF. MLB Traderumors have him at $18M per on a 4yr deal. Not sure I buy those numbers, but he could be a long term addition.

2] Brantley: Personally I don't feel him being LH is a negative. The 34yo is a consulate professional hitter with decent power and could be a great fit for the lineup. While he won't match Cruz for pure HR power, his numbers speak for themselves. He's still decent in the OF and could be a great fit anywhere from #2 to #5 in the lineup. Projected at $14M per at 2yrs.

3] Santana: Let's NOT look at his abysmal 2020 BA but look at career numbers. (Though OB and SLG numbers in 2020 were OK). He is a switcher hitter who knows the league and the Central. He isn't the hitter Cruz is, but is a good career OB guy who grinds and has good power. He can still play some 1B for versatility and comes in cheap at about $6M if you agree with projections. No Nellie, but a solid contributor to a lineup that has a lot of rebound offerings.

4] Turner: Let me just say I hadn't thought about him initially, but the 36yo could be a perfect fit. His career quad slash line is excellent, he can still fill in at 3B...regardless of any 10th man addition... and is expected to be around $12M per for 2yrs. He might be my 1st choice to replace Cruz except the Dogers practically print money and can have him back if they want him.

There are additional possibilities such as Moreland and Braun, previously proven hitters who may have life in their bats and could still play in the field here and there.

I have never bought in to the DH as being an "exclusive" bat only spot unless you had someone pretty good/special there. Yes, like Cruz. I've always wanted a team deep enough, balanced enough, that the DH spot is just handled by someone taking a half day off to fill that spot. Speculation and even limited imagination could see the Twins rotation the likes of Rooker, Kirilloff, Larnach, Kepler, Sano, Garver or Jeffers, etc, rotating through that spot over the next few/several years, especially if the Twins continue to embrace having a viable 10th man available. But I don't feel we are quite there yet. And there is ABSOLUTELY room for a big bat. But what if that bat isn't Cruz and could still play the field here and there?

Is Nellie a MUST? Or are there good, solid options for the same or less $ available to take his spot on the roster?
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#2 Rosterman

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 08:36 PM

If decide to accept arbitraion with Rosario, then NO to Cruz.

 

We have Sano then, who can also play first and third.

 

We have a spot for a new first baseman, be it Rooker or Kirilloff or maybe even Kepler. Not sure if Kirilloff OR Rooker would start the season as a starter with the Twins, but if they do...you got them as backup outfielder, playing first or DHing.

 

Which bring up Mitch Garver. Who can catch, but has never done much beyond 80 games. He can also play fist. He can also designated hitter. Do the Twins carry a third catcher?

 

Two big questions. Fate of Rosario as a Twin. And the future of Sano in the organization.

 

The millions could betetr be spent elsewhere.

 

But...Cruz does bring spirit, comradeship, leadership.......

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#3 sdangus

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 06:30 AM

The thing is, if there is no DH in the NL, then Cruz is on the bench for interleague games, which cuts into his overall worth.


#4 Doctor Gast

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 06:39 AM

I`m in the same boat as you, Doc. Hate to see him go, his clubhouse presence is invaluable. But like you, I can`t fit him in the given budget at the 15-18M range, only if they raise the bar a bit & or they agree on slightly less salary.If that doesn`t happen & he walks, I won`t go outof house. We have a lot of in house options that would be more beneficial, rotating that duty depending on need (giving rest, opportunity for young players to play & pitching match-ups).

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#5 Vanimal46

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 09:09 AM

I think the upcoming decision with Rosario will play a factor in Cruz coming back or not. It's hard to imagine allowing two middle of the order bats to leave the organization when they are in win now mode. Tom Froemming wrote about scenarios to bring back Rosario without paying him the full arbitration rate which I would be okay with. 

I think the ultimate decision comes down to Cruz or Rosario? They have to keep one. 

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#6 tony&rodney

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 09:09 AM

The reports allege that Cruz wants to wait for a DH decision by baseball before signing his next contract. He has certainly earned that right. The fact that he will wait is a sign that the Twins are not keen on Cruz on a full two year deal with a similar price or slight raise from the last two years. We cannot blame him. Cruz was a superman the last two years. We understand the reticence of the Twins. Cruz still has birthdays too. Nearly everyone wants Nelson Cruz back in our lineup. The December 2 deadline for tendering Eddie Rosario is key, because the Twins are not inclined to lose both Cruz and Rosario.

My best guess is that Falvine are probing every team's needs and variables in an attempt to line up a couple of trades. The process is difficult without knowing who will be tendered and thus it is unlikely to see substantial trades before December 2. This, in turn, would mean that the Twins tender a contract to Rosario. From that point a host of hard conversations and decisions will be made that are either looking toward a budget of $120 million or, in an optimistic investment mode, plans around a payroll of $140 million. 

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#7 MileHighTwinsFan

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 09:16 AM

I love Nelson Cruz and would be happy to have him return to the team.Having said that, I think the team could adapt quite nicely if he does not return. 

 

I personally would like the team to get younger and hopefully healthier. I believe the team could use the DH as a way to rest players, add at bats for other players and open a roster slot for one of the young players.

 

I could see a scenario where the DH spot rotates among Sano, Donaldson, and Garver.Giving Sano and Donaldson a day or two off each week from playing defense would keep them fresher.Garver could get at bats at DH when Jeffers is catching.In addition, it would open the opportunity to get Rooker in the lineup regularly with spot starts in both the outfield and first base two to three times a week.  

 

The money saved on Cruz could be used to land another starter, reliever or utility infielder. 

 

I would welcome back Boomstick with open arms - but I do thing the Twins will be ok.

 

 

 

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#8 rdehring

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 09:17 AM

I will be happy if the Twins sign him to a one year contract, with or without some type of option/second year commitment. But I also won't be disappointed if the Twins move on. If they were counting on Rooker being his replacement, I would be concerned. Not based on my expectation that Rooker can't do it, rather 2021 will be an important year and inking in a rookie with his limited experience may be too big of a question. 

 

But they aren't counting on just Rooker getting the job done as there is a second young man, Kirilloff, who is equally ready to step in and fill a spot, albeit more on the field with someone else being the DH that day. With both of these young men, I have zero problem should they not be able to come to an agreement with Cruz. Now if Rosario is also gone, then I agree that they need to do something similar to the options Doc talks about above if they are unable to eventually sign Cruz.

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#9 Danchat

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 11:59 AM

You can count me as one who really wants Cruz back. I also think NL will implement the DH, it’s just going to take some time to negotiate it. Offer him a 1 year deal with an option and go from there. Ozuna or Brantley would be decent fallback options.
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#10 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 12:11 PM

I agree with everyone on this thread--if it makes sense to get Boomstick back, I'll be happy.Otherwise, I would fully support getting Brantley.If you can't get either of those two, I would, as many have suggested, use the DH as a half-day for regular players.Give Buxton, Kepler, Garver, Jeffers, and Polanco one day a week at DH, and give the sixth to Sano/Arraez/whoever plays LF.This would require having someone on the roster who can play shortstop and a viable third catcher, but would hopefully help keep all of our high-impact defenders fresher.


#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 01:30 PM

If they don't reduce salaries, I think it's feasible. If they do reduce salary, it's hard to keep him on the roster. 

 

Not impossible, but that's 3-4 other free agent needs that could be filled. 

 

And, my personal opinion is that signing a DH-only guy doesn't seem necessary. Use the DH spot to get at bats there for Donaldson, Sano, Arraez, Rooker, Kirilloff, eventually Larnach, etc. 

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#12 rv78

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 02:35 PM

With the covid vaccines just around the corner, I think we will have fans in the stands in 2021. That means revenue should return to pretty much normal. That also means that it is very important for the Twins to put a good product on the field to draw those fans back to the Stadium. Boomstick is/was the best bat in the lineup. If you don't resign him and the Twins start out of the gate slow next season, falling behind Cleveland and Chicago how will the fans react? I know he is getting to the end of his career, but until I see a significant drop off that isn't due to injury I'd want him in my lineup and not someone elses. Like they said about Mauer, he'll put fans in the stands. If you want to save money and improve the lineup you only have to look to K-Sano and his $11M. I would be looking very hard to trade him. Problem is he's over-paid and there will be very few takers. Garver, Kirilloff and Rooker would be easy replacements at 1st base and change that spot in the lineup from a basher who strikes out WAY too often to someone who can make contact, hit for average, and put another runner on base and extend innings. The Twins lineup has become too one-dimensional. They need to get back to hitting singles and doubles and quit trying to win by only hitting solo homeruns.

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#13 tony&rodney

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 03:31 PM

Every time i put a team on paper with Cruz at DH, the payroll sits around $140 million. A reasonable budget, I believe, but there are variables beyond my knowledge. Rosario and the coming decision are important in any Cruz conversation, but so too is Miguel Sano. He is most likely the most feared batter in the Twins lineup from a pitcher's viewpoint. Sano still has room for maturation as a hitter and the talent to get much better. He's young and athletic. We saw that on more than a few occasions last year in his acclimation to first base. My concern is with his flexibility and conditioning regime. What is the big man doing to reduce his size? He came into camp last February much improved and another step towards physical conditioning and agility would benefit the big man. Sano can reduce his strikeouts and hit for an average of .275 or better with power, but he must really strive for excellence. Everything I see from Sano indicates that he loves to play baseball and have fun. If I am the brain trust behind the Twins I want to know exactly how my cornerstone is working to fulfill his talents. Anything less than optimal reports has me working the phones for a trade. This then circles back to signing Nelson Cruz. The Twins need to budget at least $60 million for pitching and as Cruz waits for a ruling on the DH the Twins must do whatever they can to fill the roster. Twins fans love watching Cruz but a rotation at DH may be in order if Cruz waits too long. 

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#14 old nurse

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 08:14 AM

For there to really be a market for Cruz the NL would have to adopt the DH. That is not happening without the union giving up something. They more or less lost on the 2020 negotiations, I really do not think it will be resolved this winter. 

Without the NL teams it then becomes a question of which AL team has a need. Other than Toronto most contending spending teams have a bat without a position. Then there is Ozuna out there. At 29 he is still a building block. Then there is Rosario. Not as talented but much less expensive. No doubt Cruz would like a raise. A couple of monster years it is not an unreasonable expectation. That is not how it works anymore. 

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#15 TopGunn#22

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 08:19 AM

I think they really have to find a way to keep Cruz. 

He's just simply their best hitter.  

Non-Tender Rosario and trade Sano.Save $19-$20 million. 

Rookie contracts for Kiriloff and Rooker saves money.

If Tampa Bay non-tenders Choi you could package Sano and other pieces for Blake Snell (provided Rocco promises Snell he won't take him out in the 5th inning of a playoff game).

Sano is still decently affordable at $11 million which would be enticing to the rays.

Otherwise, dangle Sano to the Rockies his power at Coors would be fun and they have a hole at 1B.

Maybe get a SP from the Rockies for Sano.

The point is they need Cruz in their lineup and we can get better, more consistent AB's from Kiriloff, Rooker and Larnach than Sano and Eddie.

We will miss the power, but we've got plenty of power anyway.

Sign Cruz.


#16 Dodecahedron

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 12:18 PM

Must signing -- hm. Hard to answer. Will the Twins go all-in next year? Then yes. If not, then this is wasted money.

 

Cruz is a short-term member of the team. If the Twins plan on being thrifty this year, the Twins could sign him, but it would just be to keep up the appearance of being competitive. If the Twins don't care about appearing like they want to win, though I suspect they do care, they should cut the cord and start planning for the future without him.


#17 yeahyabetcha

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 06:54 AM

It may be time to move on and start over, beginning with not resigning Nelson

#18 Jacksson

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Posted 27 November 2020 - 01:34 PM

Of course Cruz is not a must signing.

That David Ortiz dump and replacement by Matt LeCroy turned out well, 

DIDN'T IT ??


#19 DocBauer

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Posted 27 November 2020 - 08:34 PM

You can count me as one who really wants Cruz back. I also think NL will implement the DH, it’s just going to take some time to negotiate it. Offer him a 1 year deal with an option and go from there. Ozuna or Brantley would be decent fallback options.


I think I actually like Brantley better than Ozuna. He's still a decent OF to create better roster flexibility/insurance and is super consistent. Ozuna has a higher ceiling power-wise, and is younger. Ozuna is a step down from what Cruz is, or has been, but do we want to commit a 3-4yr deal on someone that should be a DH only might be a consideration. But I also like both options.

My problem is the NL DH idea. I also believe the NL will eventually adopt the DH. But when? Are they going to do so next CBA? Or will they announce something late like in 2020 and won't know until February? There are a lot of working parts from now until any potential announcement. Teams have to work out payroll and rosters. Players will want to find their homes for 2021 and their best deals. I'm not sure the Twins, Cruz, or anyone else can sit back and wait to see what's going to happen in this situation.
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#20 DocBauer

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Posted 27 November 2020 - 08:53 PM

Must signing -- hm. Hard to answer. Will the Twins go all-in next year? Then yes. If not, then this is wasted money.
 
Cruz is a short-term member of the team. If the Twins plan on being thrifty this year, the Twins could sign him, but it would just be to keep up the appearance of being competitive. If the Twins don't care about appearing like they want to win, though I suspect they do care, they should cut the cord and start planning for the future without him.


There is no question Cruz is a short-term signing, whether it be 1yr, or 2yrs, or some sort of 1 and option, which is what I suspect will happen if he's brought back.

I do think the FO is serious about contending and keeping their contention window open. And with what is in hand and coming up, there is and should be a lot of optimism. But regardless of any opinion on the finances of MLB, there is an unknown situation right now regarding revenue/losses/2021 projections. I don't think the Twins would bring Cruz back for the sake of PR.

Personally, while a proponent of the DH, unless you have a special bat for that spot, I have always been in favor of a deep roster and a rotation at that spot. The bite is the Twins find themselves in a sticky situation as Cruz IS/HAS BEEN that kind of bat. And I believe he has one more really good season left in him, all the more because 2020 was short. But at the same time, we have some SERIOUS potential in Kirilloff, Larnach and Rooker to fill spots/roles. But to bank on them so early, and remove, potentially, BOTH Rosario AND Cruz in the same off season is frightening.
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