The Minnesota Twins made their fourth signing of the offseason yesterday, bringing back a very familiar face. The team’s leading slugger for the past two years, Nelson Cruz, is now back in a Minnesota Twins uniform.
The team added the Marvin Miller award winner for 2020 back before the 2019 season, signing him to a one year deal with a one year option for a grand total of $26 million. That $13 million AAV must have seemed like a great number for both sides, because Cruz has agreed to return on a one year deal for $13 million.
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While that may seem like a pretty sizable chunk of change for a 40 year old hitter who can only play designated hitter, it’s clear the value Cruz has to this team. Over the past two years, Cruz has put together a .308/.394/.626 slash line and has easily been the Twins’ best hitter over the past two years.
That wasn’t his only skill though. Without a doubt, Cruz was the leader of this team. As Cruz has advanced into his late 30’s and moved now past 40, he has always been willing to help out the younger players, especially players from the Dominican Republic (fellow D.R. native Miguel Sano sees Cruz as big brother).
The value on and off the field is extremely clear, but does the Minnesota Twins’ grade for the re-signing of Nelson Cruz match that value or fall short?
As for the money, it’s a solid deal. $13 million for a player who can’t play in the field is expensive, but the Twins could be in a far worse spot. Miguel Cabrera ($30 Million), J.D. Martinez ($19.25 Million), and Khris Davis ($16.75 million) all outpace him considerably in terms of money, with all three falling WELL below him in terms of value.
In addition, Cabrera is the only veteran leader out of three, and it’s tough to understate the importance of Cruz’s leadership to the team. Overall, $13 million is a very good price for the player and the man, and the fact that it’s only a one year commitment protects the Twins if Cruz’s advanced age leads to a drop-off.
The Twins could have elected to sign Marcell Ozuna (which would have cost a lot more money, especially over time) or rolled with a Sano/Rooker/Donaldson designated hitter (which would have led to a drop in production), but instead, they went with the safest and wisest choice. The only downside is his age and limited versatility.
If he doesn’t regress (or even if he drops off a little bit), Cruz is well worth a one-year deal at that price, and considering he’s finished in the Top 15 of MVP voting 6 of the past seven years, i’ll trust his track record.