Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Will the Twins Consider a Nelson Cruz Reunion?


Nelson Cruz has been one of the Twins' best hitters over the last two seasons. However, his performance declined after Minnesota traded him. Will the Twins consider a Cruz reunion this winter?

 

It's hard to fathom just how valuable Nelson Cruz was during his time as a Twin. It was clear what he could provide with his on-field performance, but he meant just as much off the field. In parts of three seasons, he hit .304/.386/.598 (.984) with a 162 OPS+. His Twins tenure started with the record-breaking Bomba Squad and ended with him traded for two pitching prospects that look to be part of the team's long-term plans

Cruz seemed to be defying Father Time over the last handful of seasons. That was one of the reasons the Twins were able to sign him for $13 million this past winter. After being traded to the Rays, age might have started to catch up to Cruz. In 55 games, he hit .226/.283/.442 with 21 extra-base hits. In the ALDS, he went 3-for-17 with a home run before Tampa was eliminated. 

Players over 40 rarely find success, and those that do are Hall of Fame-caliber hitters. According to FanGraphs, Cruz's 2021 season ranks as the 17th best age-40 season in baseball history. This performance ranks him ahead of future Hall of Famers like Reggie Jackson (21st), Craig Biggio (24th), Paul Molitor (25th), and Derek Jeter (26th). Many of those players declined significantly after age-40 or decided to retire. 

Minnesota can go in a few different directions for 2022 and beyond when it comes to designated hitter. Bringing Cruz back is undoubtedly an option, but it seems more likely for the team to go in an alternate direction. The Twins have players like Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano, and Brent Rooker, who can rotate through the DH role. It seems likely for Sano to get the majority of those at-bats with Alex Kirilloff taking over as the full-time first baseman. 

Another wrinkle in a Cruz reunion is the good chance that the National League adds the designated hitter. Minnesota had little competition to sign Cruz last winter because only the American League had the DH, and not every AL team was looking to be competitive or had an open DH role. Cruz can fill at least a part-time DH role on a contending NL team that feels like he has something left in the tank. 

Cruz has provided immeasurable value to the Twins organization, and his impact will be felt long after he retires from baseball. Questions remain about whether or not the Twins will be contenders in 2022. This makes it easier to pass on the possibility of a Cruz reunion.  

Will the Twins explore a Nelson Cruz reunion? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

Just like Greinke - time to move on.  Age is not negotiable and we have enough bats to fill the DH/1B/corner OF slots.  He was great to have on our team, but like Thome he has only so much gas left in the tank at this stage and if you remember he left us mid season for a contender just like Cruz and then the next year he was on three different teams and called it quits. Time for the old song - Thanks for the memories -

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wasn't a huge fan of their signing him three years ago as I thought age was catching up with him.  Was I wrong!  Lots of reasons to not bring him back, but if they do it has to be on a one year contract. 

But one reason to bring him back would be if the Twins are say a .500 team or under come late July, could they trade him to another contender for a HUGE return as this year?  Guess it depends on the market and how he is hitting, but if the NL has a DH the market would double.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say it all depends on demand. If there is a change in the DH through the new CBA then there will probably be a high enough demand that the price tag moves the Twins out of the bidding. However, if the DH isn't implemented in the NL then the demand may not be that high and depending on his asking price signing him would be worth considering. As mentioned above, he did so much for the clubhouse that you can't really measure. Was he in decline so much at the end of the season or did the trade and new surrounding just mess with him a bit. He said he loved it here and maybe that made a difference in how well he performed? I only know, I for one would love to see him back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems that signing a full-time DH is (and should be) on the bottom of the priority list.

Next year they'll be in a position (assuming no trades / moves) there are several players that could rotate in and out of the DH slot; and having that spot for players to rotate in and out of in order to allow for a bit of rest without being out of the line up was a pretty good feature in the last half of the year.

* Donaldson struggled with being an 'everyday in the field' guy with leg issues; being able to rotate to DH was huge.  Being able to rotate Miranda into 3B would be helpful.

* Sano is a guy that has struggled with particular scenarios, and it seems that Kirilloff is waiting in the wings to take up some time at 1B, if not become a full time 1B / OF player.

* Arraez was in a few spots where having his bat was great, but having his knees in the field full time wasn't.

Short story: I like Cruz, would love to see him come back in some role if the desire is there, but it's certainly not something the front office should (or would) put a lot of time / money / priority into.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love Cruz, and he has provided so so so much value for this franchise, and he will always be loved here. With that being said, I don’t think they will. Sano will get those ABs and while he won’t provide the value that Cruz does, we have him under contract and we need every last penny for pitching.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a big Cruz fan . But we need to realize one thing. Defense on the field matters. Cruz can't help us there. But the problem is Sono can't either. He made more errors than any first baseman in the majors. I think 6 of them were throwing errors. Who does that? Sano at dh. And backup 1st. base. Kirloff to 1st. Or look at trading for someone like a josh bell from Washington?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope the NL adds the DH. This means we can trade (or give away) Donaldson and make room for Garver/Sano to be our DH. This means that the Twins will NOT bring back Cruz (even though he is my wife's favorite player). Oh well. Sometimes wives need to be disappointed for the good of the team. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big Cruz fan, but I think the fit isn't there as it has been in years past.  Way too many bat first/only guys coming up.  There should much bigger priorities than bringing him back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Loved Cruz while he was here, but every nickel of budget and every millisecond of effort by the FO should be spent on pitching and maybe SS. If right before ST there’s some budget left and they filled all the other needs and Cruz is still out there, sign him up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not be upset for another 1 year deal, but I doubt it happens.  With the decline on defense of Donaldson and many hit first guys in the wings I think the team moves on to someone else to fill the DH role. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

Featured Video

×
×
  • Create New...