Nelson Cruz's time with the San Diego Padres lasted just more than a half-season. In a surprising move, the Padres have designated Cruz for assignment.
The Padres signed Nelson Cruz to a one-year, $1 million contract for the 2023 MLB season. The DH played 49 of San Diego's 85 games. Cruz hit .245/.283/.399 with five home runs and 23 RBI.
Cruz celebrated his 43rd birthday just a few days before being cut by the Padres. The decision gives San Diego seven days to trade Cruz or place him on waivers.
Cruz was a productive hitter in June. The DH only received 28 at-bats during the month, but he slashed .286/.355/.536. He has two hits in 10 at-bats during July. Earlier in the 2023 season, Cruz became the third-oldest player to have a six-RBI game.
One of the most consistent power hitters of his generation, Cruz is well past his prime. The slugger hit at least 22 home runs in every season from 2010-2019. From 2014-2019, he never hit fewer than 37 homers in a season. Cruz was limited to 10 home runs and a .651 OPS in 124 games with the Washington Nationals last season.
The Padres' decision comes amid a severely disappointing first half. San Diego is 39-46 with the 2023 MLB All-Star Game just one week away. The Padres are 4-10 in their last 14 games and quickly falling out of playoff contention.
The San Francisco Giants are seven games ahead of the Padres for the third and final NL wild-card spot. Three teams sit in between San Diego and San Francisco in the standings.
The Padres trail the Arizona Diamondbacks by 11 games for first place in the NL West. San Diego is closer to last place than first place in the division.