Free-agent slugger Nelson Cruz has agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins for $14.3 million, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.
The deal also features a $12 million team option for 2020, according to the source. Yahoo sports first reported the two sides had agreed to a deal.
No player has hit more home runs over the past five seasons than Cruz’s 203, which is 15 more than Giancarlo Stanton. Cruz, 38, who is older than new Twins manager Rocco Baldelli (37), has averaged almost 153 games a year over that same period.
The Twins, who ranked 23rd in the majors last season with 166 home runs, have gone on the offensive this offseason. In addition to Cruz, Minnesota has also added C.J. Cron (30 home runs in 2018) and Jonathan Schoop (21) to the roster.
Cruz, who admittedly likes to take an hour nap prior to games, continued to give nightmares to opposing pitchers from the Seattle Mariners‘ designated hitter spot in 2018.
“Once you find your comfort zone, you can do it,” Cruz said earlier this season of his pregame napping habits, but the quote could easily apply to his hitting.
Cruz, who made $14.725 million in the final year of his four-year, $64 million contract that he signed in 2015, ranked eighth in the American League last season with 37 home runs and ninth with 97 RBIs, despite missing some time after falling down the dugout steps and injuring his ankle on the opening weekend. He finished the season with a .256 average in 144 games.
This was his third time on the free-agent market.
He was the winner of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter of the Year Award in 2017 after belting 39 homers and leading the AL with 119 RBIs.
In 14 major league seasons, Cruz, a former outfielder, has 360 home runs, 1,011 RBIs, 838 runs and a .274 batting average. In addition to the Mariners, he has also played for the Baltimore Orioles (2014), Texas Rangers (2006-13) and Milwaukee Brewers (2005).
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