Nelson Cruz, once a possibility for the Rays, chooses the Twins

Nelson Cruz has hit more home runs last season than anyone in the majors. He'll deploy that power in Minneapolis while playing for former Rays coach Rocco Baldelli.
Nelson Cruz is among the most interesting names the Rays may be talking about. [Times files 2017]
Nelson Cruz is among the most interesting names the Rays may be talking about. [Times files 2017]
Published December 27 2018

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.

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 msherman@tampabay.com. Follow @mikesherman

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