Major League Baseball’s top homerun hitter since 2014 had found a new home in free agency.
Nelson Cruz agreed to a one-year contract worth $14.3 million with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday. The contract also includes a team option for a second year at $12 million.
Cruz, who will turn 39 in the middle of next season, has been one of baseball’s most prolific power hitters in the past few seasons.
His 203 home runs in the top mark in baseball, by far. Only the highest-paid player in the MLB, Giancarlo Stanton, comes close with 188.
Cruz hit .256 with 37 home runs last season while playing almost exclusively as a designated hitter for the Seattle Mariners last season. His offensive production was over 30% better than the league average hitter, according to wRC+.
The Dominican slugger will slot into Minnesota’s lineup as their everyday designated hitter.
The Twins have had one of baseball’s weakest offenses in recent years, and the team hopes that Cruz’s presence in their lineup will serve as a run-producing spark.
Minnesota finished with a disappointing 78-84 record last season, surprising fans and the front office after the young team claimed an AL Wild Card berth in 2017.
Twins GM Thad Levine hopes that Cruz’s offense will help propel Minnesota back to the playoffs.