January 31, 2023

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Padres and Nelson Cruz agree to a one-year deal

The Padres and slugger Nelson Cruz They agree to a one-year deal. The deal is already on hold but Primo Sports Group client is set to receive a $1 million guarantee.

Once Cruz is in the game, it will be the 19th straight season for the veteran, who turns 43 in July. He has long been one of the more consistent kickers in the league but he is coming off the off-season. From 2008 to 2021, he hit 434 home runs, the most of anyone in the majors at the time. The hitting streak over that stretch was .280/.350/.536 for a wRC+ of 136, indicating that it was 36% better than the league average at the time.

However, the later part of his career was a different story. After he was traded from the Twins to the Rays at Deadline in 2021, his production declined. He only hit .226/.283/.442 after the WRC+95 deal. He signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Nationals for 2022 and tried to get back on track but fell further into reality. He hit .234/.313/.337 last year, finishing with wRC+85.

As the season draws to a close, Cruz to reporters He was going to undergo eye surgery, because he was suffering from some infections that were hindering his vision. He said it had been affecting him for about a year and a half, which is consistent with the period when he was out of production. Assuming the operation was successful, it is possible for it to return to its previous levels of production. But considering he’s quite old by professional athlete standards, it’s possible that the typical decline in age was a factor as well.

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There are certainly some risks involved, but it looks like Padres president of baseball operations AJ Preller is willing to take it. Preller has shown a penchant for giving chances to players he previously hired when he was with the Rangers and Cruz fits that bill. He was a guard from 2006 to 2013, which is when he broke out and had some of his best seasons. If the gamble pays off, they’ll add a powerful racket to a San Diego lineup that’s already quite dangerous.

Cruz is the designated hitter at this point in his career, having only fielded once in the past four seasons, which was seven innings of the Rays’ first base work in 2021. Cruz is likely a left-handed batter Matt Carpenter He can platoon into the designated hitter role, but Carpenter is also capable of playing some first base and outfield, giving manager Bob Melvin some ability to include them both in the lineup, should he be so inclined.

Financially, the Padres have raised their payroll to new heights this winter. list resource Count their spending at $250 million, which would easily be a franchise record. The numbers in Cradle baseball contracts It has a previous high of $211 million, which was last year. Perhaps most importantly, the club is prepared to pay the luxury tax for the third consecutive season, having also paid the competitive balance tax in 2021 and 2022. The list resource pegs their CBT figure at $267 million, well above the base limit of $233 million. dollars and the second threshold is 253 million dollars. As a third time payer in the second tax bracket, any additional spending is currently slated for 62% tax. If they pass the third line, which is $273 million, the rate jumps all the way to 95% and their top pick in the 2024 draft will be dropped by ten slots.

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Hector Gomez from Z101 Digital I mentioned at the beginning that the two sides had a one-year agreement. FanSided’s Robert Murray I first reported a $1 million salary.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.