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Nelson Cruz, Twins fascinated in re-signing

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins have not invested a lot time on their offseason planning nevertheless, considering the fact that they have been nevertheless hoping to be in the playoff bracket. They you should not require to sit down and feel much too difficult to know that they would be intrigued in a reunion with Nelson Cruz.
The 40-yr-outdated slugger,

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins haven’t invested considerably time on their offseason planning but, given that they ended up still hoping to be in the playoff bracket. They really don’t will need to sit down and assume much too really hard to know that they would be fascinated in a reunion with Nelson Cruz.

The 40-yr-outdated slugger, coming off two of the best seasons of his occupation, promptly expressed his wish to return to the Twins in no cost company pursuing Minnesota’s year-ending loss to Houston in Match 2 of the Wild Card Series on Wednesday.

“Hopefully, I’ll be again next year,” Cruz explained.

That experience is mutual.

“We you should not experience any in another way than Nellie does,” president of baseball operations Derek Falvey reported. “We see a in shape for him here, and we are hopeful that can get the job done out.”

• Twins’ 2020 run fulfills ‘unexpected ending’

Cruz certainly is just not receiving any youthful, and he nevertheless won’t contribute any defensive value or roster flexibility to a club bursting with talented younger situation gamers that are prepared to make their mark on the Majors in the future yr or two. It speaks to not only Cruz’s sustained production, but also the effect that he’s experienced on this clubhouse in two seasons that the Twins are so open about their curiosity in a reunion.

With 41 homers in 2019 and 16 extra in ’20, Cruz was the home operate chief for a pair of American League Central champion Minnesota teams whilst submitting two of the maximum OPS marks of his career following he signed a a person-12 months, $14.3 million deal with a $12 million club option prior to last time.

Defying the growing old curve and fueled by ability naps, Cruz concluded ninth in AL MVP Award voting very last season and is probably to complete top rated-10 in MVP voting all over again this yr. He also gained the 3rd Silver Slugger Award of his career final year and led the Twins with a .992 OPS in 2020. He drove in Minnesota’s only two runs of the Wild Card Sequence in opposition to the Astros with a pair of RBI doubles.

Cruz has also coaxed the finest out of his teammates, top by example as a result of his get the job done ethic and speaking up when needed. Miguel Sanó, who had the best period of his profession in 2019, attributes substantially of his achievements to Cruz and refers to the elder Dominican as his “father.”

“We know what Nellie usually means to this group, to this team,” Falvey reported. “We experience we’ve reported that and we’ve talked about that a lot. We don’t experience any in a different way nowadays than we did yesterday, and we’ll be considerate about that.”

There could be a lot more league-huge fascination in Cruz’s expert services thinking about his output and the risk of a complete-time introduction of the DH to the Countrywide League. But this group in Minnesota has intended a lot a good deal to Cruz, far too, and he has been open up about his contentment with his situation in Minneapolis.

“I have to be grateful to the Pohlad household,” Cruz reported. “The entire business has addressed me really effectively. I are unable to be a lot more pleased. Leading to bottom, to start with course. Protection, the fellas on the grounds crew, the clubbies, the coaches, every person in the Twins group. It is been a terrific operate. We’re back again-to-back again Central champions, so no a single can take that absent from us.”

The Twins do have ample talent in the superior Minors to drive Cruz out of the selected hitter place. Brent Rooker, who debuted with a .960 OPS in seven game titles in 2020, probable jobs as a designated hitter in the long term. Sanó could eventually be pushed into the job, way too, considering the fact that he’s never been a plus defender and the Twins will quickly need to have to make room in their lineup for Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff, who created a historic Key League debut Wednesday.

But if Cruz desires to be back on an additional short-term offer, the Twins would make space.

Twins eye wellness concerns for a different offseason
It really is not fair to fully attribute Minnesota’s underperforming offense to wellness challenges this period, but they certainly performed a component.

The Twins will find out extra as soon as they put their players through their conclude-of-season health care evaluations in the coming days, but Falvey preliminarily indicated that Jorge Polanco was at a lot less than 100 % for a great deal of the calendar year as he continued to play as a result of a sore right ankle. This will come even soon after the shortstop underwent arthroscopic surgical procedure in the location final offseason. Falvey isn’t ruling out one more method.

“That’s a thing we want to reassess,” Falvey reported. “He did have very last year’s offseason operation to tackle that bone spur, but I think we require to reassess whether or not or not there is certainly something else likely on there that we need to handle all over again.”

The Twins are keeping a closer eye on Luis Arraez just after the 23-calendar year-outdated next baseman dealt with lingering knee concerns all over the year, but Falvey stated a surgical intervention is not at the moment in the programs. Rooker’s surgical procedure to fix the displaced fracture to his proper forearm also went well, Falvey claimed, and the Twins anticipate to have him completely ready for Spring Teaching.

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Abide by him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.