ST. PETERSBURG — When the Rays made their offseason shopping list for a power hitter, Nelson Cruz was on it.
Why not? He's hit more home runs the last five years than anyone in baseball and the thinking was he'd settle for a lucrative one-year deal.
On Thursday, Cruz agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins for $14.3 million. Yahoo Sports first reported the agreement on a deal.
Nelson Cruz’s deal with the Minnesota Twins is Worth $14 million guaranteed in the first year, source tells Yahoo Sports. There is a $12 million club option with a $300K buyout. My main man @Enrique_Rojas1 had the financials first.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 27, 2018
The Rays' 2019 payroll is still $20 million less than their opening day total of 2018. The Times' Marc Topkin previously reported the Rays were hoping to sign Cruz for $10 million.
Instead, Cruz will be playing for former Rays coach Rocco Baldelli, who at age 37 was hired as the Twins manager and is younger than Cruz, 38.
Cruz's 203 home runs the last five years are 15 more than the next closest hitter, Giancarlo Stanton.
Contact Mike Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @mikesherman