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Padres Add a Veteran Slugger in Nelson Cruz


Above: Padres add a veteran slugger. In this photo, Nelson Cruz bats for the Washington Nationals on the road. Cruz and the Padres agree on a 1-year, $1 million contract for the 2023 season as of Wednesday. The 42-year-old will be playing in his 19th season this year. Photo credit – Nick Wass, AP Sports.

The San Diego Padres add a veteran slugger. Nelson Cruz is joining the Friars on a 1-year, $1 million contract.

So, the San Diego Padres signed an aging star hitter. First broken by Jeff Passan of ESPN, Nelson Cruz is joining the Pads on a 1-year, $1 million contract.

The 42-year-old slugger will be looking to serve a platoon role as a DH, similar to what he was in Washington in 2022.

ABC 10 San Diego has more details here about the role and who some of the other competitors may be for Cruz.

What Now For Cruz?

Cruz is about to suit up for his 19th season in the Major Leagues and has yet to acquire a World Series ring. Perhaps the Dominican Republic native will have a bounce back year after having eye surgery during this offseason to remedy a vision problem.

He will also serve as the team manager of the Dominican Republic in March’s World Baseball Classic.

In his career, Cruz has clobbered 459 home runs with a .274 lifetime batting average. He also is a solid power hitter, with a lifetime slugging percentage of .515.

The Padres are also looking to find veteran experience as they chase their first World Series in franchise history.  San Diego is led by young stars who would benefit from Cruz’s leadership.

Final Thoughts on Deal

So, overall, the Cruz deal makes a lot of sense. The Padres are fresh off an NLCS run in 2022. After aggressively signing Xander Bogaerts, they continue to supplement the roster. Cruz is a veteran who provides ample experience for a solid and developing team. Not only that, but Cruz can provide some major pop at the plate. One-year contracts are often seen as a “prove-it” style deal, and this agreement between the Padres and Nelson Cruz should prove to be successful.

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