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BREAKING: Twins Agree with DH Nelson Cruz on One-Year Deal


According to Fangraphs, Cruz produced 6.3 WAR over the past two years, for a value of $49.6mm, while earning $26mm.

 

He needs to produce 1.7 WAR to make this contract worth the money, which he has done for eight consecutive years (actually averaging 3.7WAR these last eight years, despite last year being 60 games.)

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Really happy to have Cruz back for another run. It's a reasonable deal for both sides and one year limits the risk. It's a good bridge so the Twins don't have to count on too many rookies too fast, but doesn't block young hitters from getting the opportunities they'll need for too long. Cruz is a leader on the team and it'll be good to have him back.

 

Will he regress? Probably a little, but I suspect they'll do a good job in keeping him rested and ready and it's just great to have a feared bat like that in the heart of the order.

 

The lineup looks strong, with plenty of depth. Injuries will end up being the key for them like it is for so many teams: if Buxton and Donaldson and the middle infielders stay relatively healthy and are in a groove come playoffs...I expect the Twins to be in them.

 

I think we'll see the team sign one more veteran RHP reliever for depth (probably in the $2-3M range) and a veteran reclamation project to compete for the 5th starter. Get that done and I feel pretty good about the off-season. (But I'm also a huge proponent of adding Andrelton Simmons)

Mr Lease again sums it up for me. I definitely want a flyer on another starter to avoid relying on Thorpe or Smeltzer hopefully getting us to mid season where a young guy like Duran could fill in if necessary.

Bank on the Dirty Sox and LaRussa? I'll take that bet!

 

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I was among those who was ok with Cruz not coming back. Reason is that DH is no longer an option for players needing a day off or for Arraez, who must be in the lineup nearly every day. I suppose there will be enough injuries to keep Luis' bat in the lineup.

 

Will this also have an effect on the dollars available for another starter and reliever? Expect we may now be looking at them getting one solid reliever, but the starter may be someone who will compete with Dobber for #5 rather than say, Odorrizi, who would have been in their starting 5 with Dobber pushed to the pen/backup starter.

 

Two weeks left until they report, assuming health departments will let them.

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I was among those who was ok with Cruz not coming back. Reason is that DH is no longer an option for players needing a day off or for Arraez, who must be in the lineup nearly every day. I suppose there will be enough injuries to keep Luis' bat in the lineup.

 

 

Why does Arraez need to be in the lineup every day? Arraez had an OPS of .765 last year while Cruz had an OPS of .992. 

 

Arraez is fun, we don't see .300 hitters anymore, but he's a pretty one dimensional player. 

 

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I guess I am one of the only ones that is concerned about this team's offense.
Plus in every department and downright dangerous?
MLB offensive placements in 2020:
15th out of 30 in OPS,
14th in slugging,
20th in OBP,
18th in average,
22nd in walks,
18th in runs scored,
18th in RBI,
20th in hits,
25th in doubles,
last in triples,
last in stolen bases,
and only in Homers at 6th is there something to crow about.
Take NC's stats out of the mix and the most recent season really looks bleak.

I hope this offense is as good as eveyone seems to be sure they are.

 

The 2019 Twins were a top 5 team in all of those categories, except SB and triples. Usually top 2 or 3. The question is whether 2019 is the anomaly (juiced ball, career years), or 2020 (short season, short "spring" training, injuries). Personally, I don't think either year is very representative for what to expect going forward, but you could make an argument for either.

Both 2019 (hitting) and 2020 (pitching) give reasons for hope for this season, which is what I think people are banking on.

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This is good news.  While I initially back in November said the Twins HAD to sign him, differing opinions with good arguments behind them swayed my thinking the other way.

 

One-Year $13 million is probably fair, as Dante's pointed out Nellie probably out-performed his contract the past two seasons.

 

If this puts the payroll at $125 million do they have $10 million yet to play with ???

 

I'd like to see another starting pitcher.

Go Big with a Paxton signing or go small with Foltynewicz  ??  

I'd be happy with either as I think Folty is a good gamble.

 

One more arm for the Pen?

The impact guy would obviously be Rosenthal.

Colome or Clippard would at least be decent.

 

The St. Louis Cardinals payroll is about $160 million---even after acquiring Arenado. 

 

Is St. Louis a bigger TV market than the Twin Cities ?  (NO)

Are their owners richer than the Twins owners ?  (NO)

 

What's holding the Twins back from being a "serious" Baseball Team like the Cards?

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Good move. Hope he's happy with the deal and doesn't feel slighted. I suspect delays were more about the uncertainty of the league-wide DH + a changing market (I think every offseason will be later rather than earlier going forward--depending how that next CBA goes).

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I was among those who was ok with Cruz not coming back. Reason is that DH is no longer an option for players needing a day off or for Arraez, who must be in the lineup nearly every day. I suppose there will be enough injuries to keep Luis' bat in the lineup.

 

Injuries -- and possibly suspensions or covid cases -- will get him plenty of AB.

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At the 6 o'clock news I hear they upped their offer, but also offered Ozuna.  At 10 o'clock news he is signed.  I have a feeling once the offer to Ozuna got known Cruz knew it was a race to who signed first.  With expanded DH looking like a no go this year now, Cruz had limited options, thinking only Twins.  Did not take long to sign then.  

 

I am happy he is back.  The rumored contracts for Ozuna were too high for my liking based on what he have in minors.  If Cruz falls off cliff based on age, we move on to Rooker most likely.  If Ozuna struggled we would needed to keep putting him out there because he would be making too much to cut loose. 

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I would have been interested in Ozuna if they kept him in the OF, but if the team was going to tie up the DH spot for him for 3-5 years, I wasn't interested. However, the Twins seem to be looking to improve the defense this offseason so I'd guess they weren't planning on him being in the OF regularly.

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I completely agree with the comments that now we need to sign Paxton or Walker. I can't believe more people aren't clamoring for this. Those are reasonably priced veterans who should easily fit our payroll. We could add one of them and a solid reliever or two and still be around where we were last year. This is no time to cut the budget.

 

Have we forgotten all those years of spending less than 50 percent of revenue, even after the public stadium subsidy, because there was no point throwing good money after bad, and they were waiting for our window of contention to spend? Well, this is our window. If they won't spend $9 million on a 4th starter now, on a risk free one year contract, when will they? This is the time to go for it.

 

We're not asking fur a 9 figure contract. It's 7 figures. We've waited long enough. We watched our previous window, when we had three MVP level players in Mauer, Morneau, and Santana, get squandered with sub-replacement-level players dragging us down at other positions and basically canceling them out. This time it's time to push them over the top.

 

I can see not spending on free agents when you have a 90 loss team. But then you have to balance that out by spending more when you finally have a contending team. Which they did not do last year, BTW. They still barely spent 50 percent of revenue on payroll at $140M.

 

The really sad part is there has never been a better time to splurge on free agents. Now is the time. The market is heavily depressed by Covid and collusion. Not long ago a guy like Walker or Paxton would have gotten a three year contract at $13M a year. Hell, relievers were getting that. A one year contract at $10 million would be a bargain. They have the money! And even if they didn't, they could roll over some of the savings from the lean years. But it's not like they would lose money by actually trying to win. It never made sense that if the public invested in the team, they only had to spend half of it on the team. They are still making a huge profit, even before the windfall when they sell the team.

 

This team actually has a chance to win. But right now that chance depends on catching lightning in a bottle with someone like Balazavich or Duran emerging as unhittable by playoff time, and a couple rookie hitters blossoming right away, and Buxton, Donaldson, Polanco, Cruz etc. Having rare injury free years. But there is virtually no scenario in which no one on the rotation will get hurt. You always need depth there, and we aren't even starting five sure things. A mid-level starter and two relievers would make us a team to be reckoned with. And thanks to patient player development, forward thinking trades, judicious free agent spending, smart coaching and analytics, we are in a position to do it, this year, without reckless spending our mortgaging our future.

 

If not now, when?

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I completely agree with the comments that now we need to sign Paxton or Walker. I can't believe more people aren't clamoring for this. Those are reasonably priced veterans who should easily fit our payroll. We could add one of them and a solid reliever or two and still be around where we were last year. This is no time to cut the budget.

Have we forgotten all those years of spending less than 50 percent of revenue, even after the public stadium subsidy, because there was no point throwing good money after bad, and they were waiting for our window of contention to spend? Well, this is our window. If they won't spend $9 million on a 4th starter now, on a risk free one year contract, when will they? This is the time to go for it.

We're not asking fur a 9 figure contract. It's 7 figures. We've waited long enough. We watched our previous window, when we had three MVP level players in Mauer, Morneau, and Santana, get squandered with sub-replacement-level players dragging us down at other positions and basically canceling them out. This time it's time to push them over the top.

I can see not spending on free agents when you have a 90 loss team. But then you have to balance that out by spending more when you finally have a contending team. Which they did not do last year, BTW. They still barely spent 50 percent of revenue on payroll at $140M.

The really sad part is there has never been a better time to splurge on free agents. Now is the time. The market is heavily depressed by Covid and collusion. Not long ago a guy like Walker or Paxton would have gotten a three year contract at $13M a year. Hell, relievers were getting that. A one year contract at $10 million would be a bargain. They have the money! And even if they didn't, they could roll over some of the savings from the lean years. But it's not like they would lose money by actually trying to win. It never made sense that if the public invested in the team, they only had to spend half of it on the team. They are still making a huge profit, even before the windfall when they sell the team.

This team actually has a chance to win. But right now that chance depends on catching lightning in a bottle with someone like Balazavich or Duran emerging as unhittable by playoff time, and a couple rookie hitters blossoming right away, and Buxton, Donaldson, Polanco, Cruz etc. Having rare injury free years. But there is virtually no scenario in which no one on the rotation will get hurt. You always need depth there, and we aren't even starting five sure things. A mid-level starter and two relievers would make us a team to be reckoned with. And thanks to patient player development, forward thinking trades, judicious free agent spending, smart coaching and analytics, we are in a position to do it, this year, without reckless spending our mortgaging our future.

If not now, when?

 

Totally agree with this.  In the years we didn't stand a chance I was OK with where they had payroll at.  Now we have a decent team, a team that could get hot and win it all.  Need to open it up and give this team the most opportunity we can for success.  Another starter would help.  I hope they get someone for that last 40 man spot.

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I guess I am one of the only ones that is concerned about this team's offense.
Plus in every department and downright dangerous?
MLB offensive placements in 2020:
15th out of 30 in OPS,
14th in slugging,
20th in OBP,
18th in average,
22nd in walks,
18th in runs scored,
18th in RBI,
20th in hits,
25th in doubles,
last in triples,
last in stolen bases,
and only in Homers at 6th is there something to crow about.
Take NC's stats out of the mix and the most recent season really looks bleak.

I hope this offense is as good as eveyone seems to be sure they are.

 

Good reality check. With the way last season went down, I would imagine the distance between ranking 20th in a stat and ranking 15th isn't very large, etc. The Twins have a solid chance to regress toward the mean in many of these categories.

 

I think it's folly to believe that Rosario's absence will not be felt as he was a top-3 contributor to almost all of these categories, if not the leader. The situation is far from hopeless, but yeah we're probably not looking at many top-5 or top-10 finishes at the team level next year.

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Why does Arraez need to be in the lineup every day? Arraez had an OPS of .765 last year while Cruz had an OPS of .992. 

 

Arraez is fun, we don't see .300 hitters anymore, but he's a pretty one dimensional player. 

Because it is a lot easier to score runs when someone is on base. And Arreaz gets on base more than anybody else in this lineup, a lot more than most.

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I was among those who was ok with Cruz not coming back. Reason is that DH is no longer an option for players needing a day off or for Arraez, who must be in the lineup nearly every day. I suppose there will be enough injuries to keep Luis' bat in the lineup....

 

 

 

I know there's not supposed to be any math on TwinsDaily, but here goes: 

 

Aside from the catcher, 8 other starters are needed in 162 games, less the 9 interleague games in which no DH is used. That equals 1287 starts needed. 

 

Say the 5th outfielder and 6th infielder get about 40 starts each. That leaves 1207 for the remaining nine guys.

 

Right now that's Sano, Polanco, Simmons, Arraez, Donaldson, Kepler, Buxton, Cruz, and someone else (perhaps Kirilloff). With the roster flexibility they have, they can distribute them easily and have an average of 134 starts per player.

 

But they won't. Cruz and Donaldson will get a few less because of age and to protect from injury. Spread those extra starts around and it's about 140 for the rest. And then assume one or more will spend some time on the IL, freeing up more starts. 

 

Bottom line is that signing Cruz won't keep Arraez from playing 140 games. Assuming he's healthy and hitting, he'll get between 130-150 starts. With Rocco's rest patterns, that's what most of those guys can expect.

 

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I guess I am one of the only ones that is concerned about this team's offense.
Plus in every department and downright dangerous?
MLB offensive placements in 2020:
15th out of 30 in OPS,
14th in slugging,
20th in OBP,
18th in average,
22nd in walks,
18th in runs scored,
18th in RBI,
20th in hits,
25th in doubles,
last in triples,
last in stolen bases,
and only in Homers at 6th is there something to crow about.
Take NC's stats out of the mix and the most recent season really looks bleak.

I hope this offense is as good as eveyone seems to be sure they are.

If performance in 2020 is the determining factor for this season then you have to feel pretty good about the pitching staff. They were at or near the top of the league for the 60 game season. Do you see that continuing for 2021?

 

I'm far more concerned about the rotation and bullpen regressing back to the mean than I am about the offense failing to do so over a full season. 

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The 2019 Twins were a top 5 team in all of those categories, except SB and triples. Usually top 2 or 3. The question is whether 2019 is the anomaly (juiced ball, career years), or 2020 (short season, short "spring" training, injuries). Personally, I don't think either year is very representative for what to expect going forward, but you could make an argument for either.

Both 2019 (hitting) and 2020 (pitching) give reasons for hope for this season, which is what I think people are banking on.

 

I'm going with the up side, myself. I think 2020 was such a weird year, that whether a player did well (Maeda) or whether they did horrible (Garver), it is not indicative to how the future will go for them. But 2020 is the most recent trend for the hitters, and I hence, my noted concern.

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Because it is a lot easier to score runs when someone is on base. And Arreaz gets on base more than anybody else in this lineup, a lot more than most.

I like high BA and OBP as much as the next stat fiend. But the case would be stronger for Arraez if he had actually scored a more intriguing number of runs. Last year he was on a 162-game pace of about 80 runs scored. He was under a 100-run pace in 2019 too. When does the magic happen?

 

You know what's an even easier way to score runs, than getting on base? Hitting the ball over the fence. And Arraez basically doesn't do that at all.

 

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Because it is a lot easier to score runs when someone is on base. And Arreaz gets on base more than anybody else in this lineup, a lot more than most.

 

Nelson Cruz had an on base percentage of .397 last year. Arraez had an OBP of .364. Donaldson had an OBP of .373.

 

If you're looking for a skill set to equate to runs, it's not going to be on base percentage, at least not entirely. You need to look at the extra base hits. A guy who gets on base at a 40% clip but only gets singles is probably going to score fewer runs than a guy who piles up doubles and HR but only gets on base at a .330 rate.

 

Last year, Sano, Donaldson, Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cruz, Cave and Jeffers all scored more runs per plate appearance than Arraez.

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I know there's not supposed to be any math on TwinsDaily, but here goes: 

 

Aside from the catcher, 8 other starters are needed in 162 games, less the 9 interleague games in which no DH is used. That equals 1287 starts needed. 

 

Say the 5th outfielder and 6th infielder get about 40 starts each. That leaves 1207 for the remaining nine guys.

 

Right now that's Sano, Polanco, Simmons, Arraez, Donaldson, Kepler, Buxton, Cruz, and perhaps Kirilloff). With the roster flexibility they have, they can distribute them easily and have an average of 134 starts per player.

 

But they won't. Cruz and Donaldson will get a few less because of age and to protect from injury. Spread those extra starts around and it's about 140 for the rest. And then assume one or more will spend some time on the IL, freeing up more starts. 

 

Bottom line is that signing Cruz won't keep Arraez from playing 140 games. Assuming he's healthy and hitting, he'll get between 130-150 starts. With Rocco's rest patterns, that's what most of those guys can expect.

 

And keep in mind Arraez has had knee problems so they can protect him if needed by having other players pitch in.  I think getting Arraez more rest will be beneficial to keeping him healthy so I think this is a good strategy all the way around.

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