The San Diego Padres signed designated hitter Nelson Cruz of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Dominican Republic on Wednesday according to spotrac.com. The terms of the deal are one year and $1 million. The Padres will be the eighth team Cruz has played for. The Padres follow the Milwaukee Brewers (2005), the Texas Rangers (2006 to 2013), the Baltimore Orioles (2014), Seattle Mariners (2015 to 2018), Minnesota Twins (2019 to 2021), Tampa Bay Rays (2021), and the Washington Nationals (2022).
This past season with the Nationals, Cruz batted .234 with 10 home runs and 64 runs batted in. During 124 games, 507 plate appearances and 448 at bats, he scored 50 runs, and had 105 hits, 16 doubles, four stolen bases, 49 walks, 151 total bases, three sacrifice flies, an on base percentage of .313, a slugging percentage of .337, and was hit by a pitch four times.
Surprise Speed on the base paths
You might not think that four stolen bases in one season is significant. However, when you consider that Cruz is 42 years of age, that statistic is actually impressive, even though the four stolen bases came in Nationals losses. In his career, Cruz has 83 stolen bases.
Cruz represented the American League in seven Major League Baseball All-Star games. He was with the Rangers in 2009 and 2013, the Orioles in 2014, the Mariners in 2015, 2017, and 2018, and the Twins in 2021. Cruz has the distinction of playing in the All-Star game in three different decades.
Twice Cruz has led the American League during the regular season in a significant offensive category. He led the Major Leagues in home runs with 40 in 2014 while with the Orioles, and the American League in runs batted in with 119 in 2017 while with the Mariners.
Opportunity in San Diego
With the National League implementing the designated hitter in 2022, more opportunities were made available for players like Cruz to prolong their careers. Expect Cruz to be the regular designated hitter for the Padres.