Despite mutual interest in a reunion, there hasn’t been much progress in contract talks between the Twins and free agent Nelson Cruz, according to The Athletic’s Dan Hayes. “While the two sides have already had multiple discussions about Cruz returning, no decision is expected soon,” Hayes writes.
Cruz is reportedly looking for a two-year contract, which would be a relatively lengthy commitment for a player who turned 40 years old back in July. However, Hayes writes that “no demands for guaranteed years have been made” by Cruz and his representatives, indicating some negotiating flexibility, and evidence that Cruz’s desire for a multi-year deal is more of a want than a must-have as he explores his free agent options.
Despite the natural wariness about paying big money to a player past his 42nd birthday, Cruz has yet to show any signs of regression as he approaches his 17th MLB season. Cruz hit .303/.397/.595 with 16 home runs over 214 plate appearances in 2020. In two seasons in Minnesota, Cruz has racked up two Silver Slugger Awards and a pair of top-nine MVP finishes (ninth in 2019, sixth in 2020).
Cruz has been such a good fit as the leader of the Bomba Squad that there is some level of expectation that he and the Twins will eventually work something out. That said, after a season of lowered revenues, the Twins will look to be careful with every dollar they spend, and a payroll cut isn’t out of the question. The possibility that the National League could adopt the DH for 2021 would greatly expand Cruz’s market, so there is some feeling that Cruz (and other defensively-limited free agent hitters) would wait for more concrete news on that rule change before making any contractual decisions.