Minnesota Twins: 5 moves that led the Twins to the AL Central title

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DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 25: Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two run home run with Nelson Cruz #23 in the eighth inning while playing hte Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 25: Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two run home run with Nelson Cruz #23 in the eighth inning while playing hte Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JULY 28: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Minnesota Twinshits a single in the 1st inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JULY 28: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Minnesota Twinshits a single in the 1st inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Signing Nelson Cruz

Throughout the years, the Twins have tried to get one last gasp out of an aging player as a bargain basement deal. While the Ruben Sierra and Tony Batista signings didn’t work back in the day, the acquisition of Nelson Cruz was one example where spending the money in the right place paid major dividends.

The now 39-year old slugger had a year that hasn’t been seen much in Twins’ history, leading Minnesota in home runs (40) and RBI (105) while recording the second-highest OPS of his career (1.017).

While those numbers were enough to justify his one-year, $14 million deal (which has an option for the 2020 season that will definitely be exercised this winter), his impact in the clubhouse may have been even more valuable to this team.

We already talked about Kepler and Polanco, but others such as Mitch Garver, Miguel Sano and even Byron Buxton (pre-injury) followed Cruz’s lead on how to be a professional and take the next step in their development.

Next. Twins clinch first AL Central title since 2010. dark

The result was the crowning of the Bomba Squad, who took the necessary steps needed to claim Minnesota’s first American League Central title since 2010.

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