As has long been rumored, the Twins will indeed be signing designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Cruz is a formidable hitter, collecting the silver slugger in 2017, and posting OPS of .850 or over for each of the last 5 years, and at least 37 home runs in every one of those years as well. Make no mistake, Nelson Cruz is one of the best pure hitters in the game today, even though he is moving into his age 38 season.
With that perspective, it’s not hard to see why the Twins would want to add the slugger. He immediately becomes the best batter in the lineup. With a wider view of the move, it raises some questions, at least for me, about the plan both for 2019 and beyond. The Twins roster is full, and they will need to place someone on waivers to make space for Cruz. Will they designate Tyler Austin and his 5 remaining years of team control for assignment? That doesn’t seem prudent. But then the players with options who could be sent off the 25 man roster seem like they would make waves as well. Roster Resources thinks it will be Jake Cave, but Mitch Garver or Willians Astudillo could be the casualties as well.
I’m sure the front office understands the tough choice that has to be made, an wouldn’t have made this acquisition without that in mind. Despite an offseason in which the Twins made moves with the future in mind, the signing of Cruz is an indication that the Twins believe that the future is now. Don’t be surprised if the Twins suddenly become more aggressive in their pursuit of players that would address even more pressing needs.