The San Diego Padres and Nelson Cruz are reportedly in agreement on a 1-year deal, per Hector Gomez. The deal is reportedly worth $1 million, per Jeff Passan. San Diego was previously rumored to be interested in the veteran designated hitter, but nothing was official. This reported agreement provides the Padres with a right-handed slugger who can DH or come off the bench in a pinch-hitting role.
Nelson Cruz could end up platooning with Matt Carpenter, who recently inked a deal in San Diego as well. Carpenter is a left-handed hitter who will primarily face right-handed pitching. Meanwhile, Cruz’s ability to hit left-handed pitching from the right-side bodes well for the Padres.
Cruz may see some time in the outfield. But the 42-year old is best suited for a DH role at this point in his career.
He endured a down season in Washington with the Nationals during the 2022 campaign. Cruz ultimately slashed just .234/.313/.337 with a .651 OPS and 10 home runs in 124 games. However, this is a player who is only one year removed from clubbing 32 home runs between the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays. Cruz was an All-Star in 2021 as well.
Perhaps playing for a contender in San Diego will help Nelson Cruz bounce back.
The Padres are looking to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League West division title. LA cruised to a division win last year. But San Diego upset the Dodgers in the 2022 MLB playoffs. And following the Padres’ lucrative offseason, that has seen them sign star Xander Bogaerts and other key depth pieces, they are ready to make another playoff run.