- ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
Slugger Nelson Cruz and the San Diego Padres agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract Wednesday, sources told ESPN, landing the veteran with an ascendant team as he tries to win his first World Series in his 19th season.
The 42-year-old Cruz, who will be the second-oldest player in the big leagues this year behind Pirates left-hander Rich Hill, hopes to get designated hitter at-bats for the Padres, who this offseason signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year deal, re-signed pitchers Robert Suarez and Nick Martinez, and added first baseman Matt Carpenter, center fielder Adam Engel and right-handers Seth Lugo and Brent Honeywell on one-year deals.
After he serves as general manager for the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic in March, Cruz will look to rebound after his toughest season in nearly a decade and a half.
Cruz hit .234/.313/.337 with 10 home runs in 507 plate appearances with the Washington Nationals last season after signing a one-year, $15 million deal.
Following the season, Cruz underwent surgery on his left eye to correct vision problems that had plagued him for more than a year.
Before that, Cruz looked positively ageless, making six of his seven All-Star Games and winning four Silver Slugger awards after his 32nd birthday.
Despite not receiving full-time at-bats until his age-28 season, Cruz has hit 459 home runs, driven in 1,302 runs and slashed .274/.344/.515 over his 18-year career with the Brewers, Rangers, Orioles, Mariners, Twins, Rays and Nationals.
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