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Report: Twins pick up club option on Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz, Twins

The Minnesota Twins have picked up the $12 million club option on designated hitter Nelson Cruz, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network:

Cruz will actually make less next year than he did this year ($14 million), which is a small win for the Twins.

The 39-year-old has been one of the most productive hitters in baseball for over a decade, but he put together what was arguably his best season in 2019.

Despite the fact that he missed 42 games due to injury, Cruz still slashed .311/.392/.639 with 41 homers and 108 RBI, and he ranked fourth in terms of OPS+ (166). His presence in the middle of the Twins lineup galvanized their offense and helped them score 939 runs, which ranked second in the majors.

However, Cruz struggled in the ALDS against the New York Yankees. He tallied just two hits in 10 at-bats, and the Yankees often made concerted efforts to pitch around Minnesota’s premier slugger. The Yankees limited the Twins to just seven total runs in a three-game sweep.

The playoff defeat is a tough ending for a Minnesota team that exceeded expectations all year. The Twins won 101 games this season after winning just 78 in 2018, and many of their young players — like Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton — are developing into legitimate stars.

Given the tremendous improvements the Twins made, picking up Cruz’s option is a no-brainer for a team that wants to keep their core intact, particularly given he provides exceptional value at that salary.

Cruz and the Twins will look to take the next step in 2020.