Should Twins bring back Nelson Cruz after getting DFA'd by Padres?

  • Nelson Cruz was DFA'd by the Padres on Tuesday
  • San Diego has seven days to trade or release him
  • Cruz played in Minnesota from 2019-2021
Cleveland Guardians v San Diego Padres
Cleveland Guardians v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

While it's been a rocky season for Twins players in Minnesota, it's been a tough one for former players elsewhere around the league.

Former Minnesota Twins slugger Nelson Cruz was designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres this week, just three months into his stint there. Cruz signed a one-year deal with the Padres this offseason, a cheap deal that made some wonder if the Twins might have been able to bring him back instead.

As it turns out, that reunion might still be in the cards as both parties seem to be in a position where they could use one another to pull themselves out of the funk that has bogged their season down.

MLB Rumors: Should Twins sign Nelson Cruz to help sluggish offense?

It's been a down season for Cruz, who is slashing 245/.283/.399 for San Diego in 49 games and 152 plate appearances. His production started to tick up slightly as of late but not enough for the Padres -- who are struggling themselves -- to justify keeping him around.

Cruz's batting average is climbing back toward .300 over his last 27 at-bats, which is something that should catch the eye of the Twins front office. He would hardly be a fix-it-all solution, but Minnesota could do far worse than a guy like Cruz in their lineup as the offense attempts to find itself amid an otherwise putrid season.

Even after an explosive stretch of games recently, the Twins offense is still Bottom 10 in batting average and on-base percentage. Cruz has a -0.3 WAR with the Padres right now, but the offense is to the point in the season where throwing anything against the wall to see if it sticks is helpful, and Cruz had some of his best late-career seasons in Minnesota.

If he clears waivers, Cruz would cost the league minimum, which Minnesota very much can afford. During his stint with the Padres, Cruz has played the field just once -- at first base -- and has been the team's designated hitter in all other instances.

That should perk up ears around Twins Territory, as bringing in Cruz would allow Rocco Baldelli to move off having Byron Buxton as DH and either play him in center field or give him adequate time off to get healthy enough to do so.

All of this hinges on two huge factors: the gamble that Cruz can tap back into the type of hitter he was during his time in Minnesota and whether or not he wants to continue his career. Cruz is in his 19th season and all signs point to him having slowed to the point where he can safely call it a career.

If he wants to continue, though, he'd be a worthwhile flier to take with mutually beneficial upside.


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