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 that the two sides had agreed to a deal.
No player has hit more home runs over the past five seasons than Cruz, with 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 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 as a DH with the Seattle Mariners in 2018.
“Once you find your comfort zone, you can do it,” Cruz said during the season of his pregame napping habits. But the quote could just as easily apply to his hitting.
Cruz posted a goodbye message to Seattle on Instagram on Thursday.
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I would like to thank the Mariners ownership especially John for all you have done for me and my hometown, the organization, the coaching staff, my teammates, Ryan, Billy and everyone else in the clubhouse, Rick Rizzs and all of the other reporters I came across, and most importantly the fans for all of your support over the last four seasons. Seattle, you hold a special place in my heart as you embraced me from the start even when skeptics said I would not succeed in a pitcher friendly park. I hope you enjoyed hearing Dave Sims say Boomstick Baby as much as I did. My Boomstick23 Foundation was formally established while in the Emerald City and I appreciate your support throughout the years. Thank you to my family and my Boomstick23 team for your continued support. Me gustaria darle las Gracias a los Marineros, los duenos especialmente a John por todo lo que han hecho por mi y por mi ciudad natal, a la organizacion, el cuerpo tecnico, mis companeros de equipo, Ryan, Billy y todos los demas en el clubhouse, Rick Rizzs y todos los demas reporteros. Y mas importante, a los fanaticos por todo su apoyo durante las ultimas cuatro temporadas. Seattle, es un lugar especial en mi corazon porque me apoyaron desde el principio, incluso cuando los escepticos dijeron que no tendria exito en un parque que beneficia a los lanzadores. Espero que hayan disfrutado escuchar a Dave Sims decir Boomstick Baby tanto como yo. Mi Fundacion Boomstick23 se establecio formalmente en la ciudad de Esmeralda y aprecio su apoyo a lo largo de los anos. Gracias a mi familia y a mi equipo Boomstick23 por su apoyo continuo.
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 played for the Baltimore Orioles (2014), Texas Rangers (2006-13) and Milwaukee Brewers (2005).