- The Padres are still attempting to re-sign free-agent infielder/outfielder Jurickson Profar, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. The switch-hitting Profar, 27, spent last season with San Diego, where he batted .278/.343/.428 (111 wRC+) with seven home runs in 202 trips to the plate. Defensively, Profar divided most of his time between left field and second base. Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth are among the options for the Padres at those spots, but the team seems to believe it will be able to keep fitting Profar in if it re-signs him. MLBTR predicted at the start of the offseason that Profar would land a one-year, $7MM contract in free agency.
- Former Mets general manager Jared Porter was part of negotiations for right-hander Trevor Williams before the team fired the executive Tuesday, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. It’s unclear if the Porter-less Mets will continue pursuing Williams, whom the Pirates designated for assignment in November, especially after acquiring fellow starter Joey Lucchesi from the Padres on Monday. Williams was a solid part of the Pirates’ rotation from 2017-18, but he struggled to a 5.60 ERA/5.01 SIERA in 201 innings and 37 appearances (all starts) between 2019-20.
TODAY: The trade is official. The Padres get Musgrove, the Mets get Lucchesi, and the Pirates receive the five prospects (Rodriguez, Head, Cruz, Fellows, and Bednar).
JANUARY 18, 5:47pm: This is a three-team trade, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray, who reports that the Mets will acquire Lucchesi. The Pirates will get catcher/outfielder Endy Rodriguez, per Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
5:40pm: Pittsburgh will get five players in return, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Head and lefty Omar Cruz are among those going to the Pirates, per Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Southpaw Joey Lucchesi is also part of the trade, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, as are righties David Bednar and and Drake Fellows, Lin relays.
5:18pm: The Padres have agreed to acquire right-hander Joe Musgrove from the Pirates, Jeff Passan of ESPN tweets. The Pirates will receive “a large package of prospects,” potentially including outfielder Hudson Head, according to Passan.
This is the fourth significant trade for a starter in recent months for the Padres, who first acquired righty Mike Clevinger from Cleveland before last August’s deadline. Clevinger was quite effective for the Padres after the trade, but elbow issues limited him to one inning during the team’s NLDS loss to the division-rival Dodgers in October, and he won’t pitch at all in 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in November.
After losing Clevinger for the upcoming season, the Padres swung trades with the Cubs for Yu Darvish, a National League Cy Young contender in 2020, as well as with the Rays for former AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell. They’ll presumably have Darvish, Snell, Musgrove, Dinelson Lamet (if he’s healthy after dealing with bicep troubles last year) and Chris Paddack in their season-opening rotation, though prospects MacKenzie Gore, Ryan Weathers and Adrian Morejon could be among younger Pads pushing for starts in 2021.
In Musgrove, San Diego is getting a California native who owns a 4.33 ERA in 496 2/3 innings between the Astros and Pirates, but he entered the offseason as one of the majors’ most intriguing trade chips after a career-best campaign. The 28-year-old threw 39 2/3 innings and recorded a 3.86 ERA/3.50 SIERA, all while registering a personal-high 14.4 percent swinging-strike rate and placing 10th in the majors in strikeout percentage (33.1 percent). That production would have made it more difficult for the low-payroll Pirates to extend Musgrove, who’s due $4.45MM in 2021 and has one more year of arbitration control left after that.
Lucchesi could have been part of the Padres’ rotation next season, but he’ll instead go to New York and compete for the No. 5 spot in its starting group. The Mets’ staff looked terrific before this deal with Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson comprising their top four, but Steven Matz had been the front-runner for the fifth position after a dismal 2020. He’ll now have to go against Lucchesi, who recorded ERAs in the 4.00s in 2018 and ’19 before tossing just 5 2/3 innings in the bigs last year. Lucchesi’s not eligible to become a free agent until after 2024.
With no chance to contend in the near future, it made sense for the Pirates to move on from Musgrove in favor of a package of younger players. For Musgrove, they’re receiving at least four well-regarded prospects in Head, Cruz, Bednar and Rodriguez, whom MLB.com ranked among the top 20 farmhands in their teams’ farm systems.
Head (No. 7) went in the third round of the 2019 draft and then signed a record bonus for $3MM. The 19-year-old possesses an “extremely high” ceiling, according to MLB.com. Cruz (17) and Bednar (20) were also solid Padres prospects, with MLB.com calling Cruz a possible back-end starter and Bednar a hard thrower with promise. Fellows did not rank among the Padres’ top 30 prospects at MLB.com, and Baseball America wrote before the club drafted him that his 93 to 94 mph fastball is “often hittable because he struggles to hit his spots.” However, BA added that Fellows’ slider could at least help make him a legitimate major league reliever.
Rodriguez, 20, was the Mets’ 14th-ranked prospect at MLB.com before the trade. MLB.com writes that Rodriguez has “an advanced approach and natural bat-to-ball skills” that will be all the more valuable if he sticks at catcher, though a future in the outfield does seem like a possibility.
The main takeaway here is that the Padres remain serious about vying for a World Series – something they have never won – in the near future. Even if it doesn’t happen in the short term, though, the Padres appear to be set up to succeed for the long haul. Their MLB roster is one of the game’s best, and as BA notes on Twitter, the Padres still lead the league with seven top 100 prospects.
There was some heavy lifting done in the baseball world yesterday: it was arbitration filing day, as well as the opening of the international signing period. Today is a recovery day. Here’s the latest…
- Before agreeing to terms with the Red Sox, southpaw Martín Pérez had no shortage of suitors. The Astros, Padres, Royals, White Sox, and Rays all showed interest in Pérez, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (via Twitter). The Padres and White Sox have generally set their sights a touch higher than Pérez, but there’s clearly some trust around the league in Perez’s ability to contribute to a playoff-caliber pitching staff.
- The Oakland A’s have long faced questions about their ability to stay in Oakland because of stadium concerns. The Coliseum sits on land with split ownership between the A’s and the city of Oakland. The organization continues to look for a site to build a new stadium, but the city of Oakland has also received a number of offers for their portion of the Coliseum land. One of those offers comes from former Oakland pitcher Dave Stewart, per Susan Slusser and Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. Stewart, an Oakland native, submitted a $115MM bid with plans to revitalize the area, whether or not the A’s continue to play there. The city of Oakland is reviewing all offers.
- The Padres are still talking with Trevor Rosenthal’s camp, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Twitter link), but the team might stand pat with its current relief corps. Since the Padres’ bid for Kirby Yates appears to have fallen short, Acee doesn’t think the Friars will meet Rosenthal’s price. Rosenthal enjoyed a nice bounce-back season in 2020, posting a 1.90 ERA and 41.8 K% over 23 2/3 innings with the Royals and Padres. After being acquired by San Diego at the deadline, Rosenthal didn’t allow a single unearned run over 10 regular-season innings for the Padres, though he struggled considerably in the playoffs.
1:36PM: It doesn’t seem like the Blue Jays are one of the finalists for Yates, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Jays “aren’t considered frontrunners” for the righty, though Toronto had “real interest.”
10:12AM: Former Padres closer Kirby Yates may be nearing a new contract, as the right-hander is “in final stages of considering offers from five teams,” according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). Yates has whittled his market down to these five finalists from a reported 12 teams that showed interest in the former All-Star. Most notably, the Padres aren’t one of the finalists, as Acee writes that the club would have to “substantially” increase their current offer to bring Yates back into the fold.
That stint in San Diego saw Yates develop from being something of a journeyman reliever in his age-30 season into a legitimate weapon. Yates posted a 2.55 ERA and an exceptional 38.44 K% and 31.2 K-BB% over 183 2/3 innings with the Padres after being claimed off waivers from the Angels in April 2017. Yates emerged as the Padres’ closer after the Friars dealt Brad Hand in 2018, and he proceeded to convert 53 of 57 save opportunities over the 2018-19 seasons. Between a league-high 41 saves and a tiny 1.19 ERA over 60 2/3 innings in 2019, Yates received a ninth-place finish in NL Cy Young Award balloting.
2020, however, was a much different story, as Yates pitched only 4 1/3 innings before undergoing a season-ending surgery in August to remove bone chips from his elbow. The Padres and their fans must surely wonder what might have been if the 2019 version of Yates had been available to contribute to their postseason run, and while there was some interest in a reunion between the two sides, it seems as though Yates will be moving on.
A few weeks ago, Acee reported that Yates was looking for a deal in the range of over $5MM in guaranteed money, plus millions more in potential incentives. (MLBTR projected a $5MM contract for Yates, ranking him 42nd in our list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents.) Even considering the slow-moving nature of the relief pitching market, that would seem like a pretty reasonable price for Yates, given the possible upside he could bring to any bullpen.
There hasn’t been much public buzz about Yates on the free agent rumor mill — besides the Padres, the Dodgers are the only other team known to have interest in Yates’ services. The Dodgers have addressed their bullpen by re-signing Blake Treinen and acquiring Corey Knebel, but there would certainly still be room for L.A. to also add Yates to the relief corps if they are one of Yates’ five finalists.
The deadline to exchange arbitration figures is today at 1pm ET. As of this morning, there were 125 arbitration-eligible players who’d yet to agree to terms on their contract for the upcoming 2021 season. Arbitration is muddier than ever before thanks to the shortened 2020 schedule, which most believe will lead to record number of arb hearings this winter. Be that as it may, it’s still reasonable to expect dozens of contractual agreements to filter in over the next couple of hours.
We’ll highlight some of the more high-profile cases in separate posts with more in-depth breakdowns, but the majority of today’s dealings will be smaller-scale increases that don’t radically alter a team’s payroll or a player’s trade candidacy. As such, we’ll just run through most of today’s agreements in this post.
I’ve embedded MLBTR’s 2021 Arbitration Tracker in the post (those in the mobile app or viewing on mobile web will want to turn their phones sideways). Our tracker can be sorted by team, by service time and/or by Super Two status, allowing users to check the status on whichever groups of players they like. You can also check out Matt Swartz’s projected arbitration salaries for this year’s class, and we’ll do a quick sentence on each player’s agreement at the bottom of this post as well, with the most recent agreements sitting atop the list.
Today’s Agreements (chronologically, newest to oldest)
- Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia avoided arbitration with a $1.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. The team also reached an agreement for $805K with reliever Robert Stephenson, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Tigers have deals with infielder Jeimer Candelario ($2.85MM), outfielder JaCoby Jones ($2.65MM) and righty Jose Cisnero ($970K), Chris McCosky of the Detroit News relays.
- The Yankees and reliever Chad Green settled for $2.15MM, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports.
- The Marlins and lefty Richard Bleier have a deal for $1.425MM, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com tweets.
- The Dodgers reached a $3.6MM settlement with lefty Julio Urias, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports.
- The Angels announced a deal with righty Dylan Bundy for $8.325MM.
- The Tigers and southpaw Matthew Boyd have settled for $6.5MM, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News tweets.
- The Yankees have deals with catcher Gary Sanchez ($6.35MM), first baseman Luke Voit ($4.7MM), third baseman Gio Urshela ($4.65MM), shortstop Gleyber Torres ($4MM) and outfielder Clint Frazier ($2.1MM), per Jon Heyman of MLB Network and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- The Rays and outfielder Manuel Margot avoided arbitration with a $3.4MM agreement, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- The Padres and outfielder Tommy Pham have a deal for $8.9MM, according to Robert Murray of FanSided. Reliever Dan Altavilla settled for $850K, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com tweets.
- The Angels and righty Felix Pena have come to terms for $1.1MM, Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times reports.
- The Red Sox and third baseman Rafael Devers have reached a $4.575MM agreement, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
- The Mets and outfielder Brandon Nimmo have come to a $4.7MM agreement, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets.
- The Reds and righty Luis Castillo have settled for $4.2MM, Robert Murray of FanSided relays.
- The Rays reached a $2.25MM agreement with infielder Joey Wendle and a $1.175MM settlement with righty Yonny Chirinos, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
- The Cardinals and flamethrowing reliever Jordan Hicks have an agreement for $862,500, according to Heyman.
- The White Sox and ace Lucas Giolito avoided arbitration with a $4.15MM agreement, James Fegan of The Athletic reports.
- The Pirates and righty Joe Musgrove have reached an agreement for $4.45MM, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. They also made deals with second/baseman outfielder Adam Frazier ($4.3MM), third baseman Colin Moran ($2.8MM) righty Chad Kuhl ($2.13MM) and lefty Steven Brault ($2.05MM), per reports from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Adam Berry of MLB.com.
- Hard-throwing right-hander Reyes Moronta agreed to a $695K deal with the Giants after missing the 2020 season due to shoulder surgery, tweets Robert Murray of Fansided.
- The Tigers agreed to a $2.1MM deal with infielder Niko Goodrum, tweets Robert Murray of Fansided. They also inked lefty Daniel Norris for a $3.475MM salary, tweets Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press.
- The Pirates agreed to a $1.3MM deal with catcher Jacob Stallings and a $1.1MM deal with righty Chris Stratton, per Robert Murray of Fansided (Twitter links).
- Athletics right-hander Lou Trivino agreed to a $912,500 salary for the 2021 season, tweets Robert Murray of Fansided.
- Right-hander Richard Rodriguez and the Pirates agreed to a $1.7MM deal, tweets Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Catcher Jorge Alfaro and the Marlins agreed to a $2.05MM deal, tweets Craig Mish of SportsGrid.
- The Reds agreed to a $2.2MM deal with right-hander Tyler Mahle, tweets Fansided’s Robert Murray. Cincinnati also signed lefty Amir Garrett for $1.5MM, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
- The Indians agreed to a $2.4MM deal with newly acquired shortstop Amed Rosario and a $975K deal with righty Phil Maton, tweets Zack Meisel of The Athletic.
- The Tigers and righty Buck Farmer settled at $1.85MM, tweets Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press.
- The Marlins agreed to a $1.9MM deal with right-handed reliever Yimi Garcia, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
3:02pm: Lefty Martin Perez is another name on the Padres’ radar, tweets Rosenthal. San Diego general manager A.J. Preller played an integral role in signing and developing Perez during his days with the Rangers.
While connections between GMs and players they’ve drafted/signed/developed with prior organizations don’t always carry tons of weight, Preller has frequently shown an affinity for former Rangers since taking the reins in San Diego. Not only did he acquire Darvish earlier this winter, but he’s also acquired Jurickson Profar, Mitch Moreland and Carl Edwards Jr. in past trades and signed Ian Kinsler on a two-year free-agent deal.
None of that makes Perez any sort of lock to land in San Diego, of course, but his price tag seems more in line with the back-of-the-rotation depth role that appears available in San Diego than does Tanaka’s expected price point.
Perez, who once rated as one of the game’s elite pitching prospects, has yet to justify the considerable prospect fanfare attached to his name as a minor leaguer, but he’s a durable fifth starter who had a decent showing with the Red Sox in 2020 when he posted a 4.50 ERA in 68 innings. Beyond the ERA, there wasn’t much to like about Perez’s season: 5.43 SIERA, 6.9% K-BB%, career-low 38.5 percent grounder rate. Perez, however, has yet to turn 30, and the lone arm injury he’s suffered since 2015 Tommy John surgery came when he sustained an offseason injury in his non-throwing elbow on his ranch in Venezuela.
2:00pm: The Padres have already overhauled their pitching staff since the 2020 trade deadline, adding Mike Clevinger, Yu Darvish and Blake Snell in a trio of trades. (Clevinger, of course, is expected to miss the bulk of 2021 following Tommy John surgery.) Despite those acquisitions, the Padres still at least open to further additions and are doing “background work” on multiple candidates, including righty Masahiro Tanaka, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required).
It’s been relatively quiet in terms of Tanaka chatter this winter. There’s been plenty of speculation about a possible reunion with the Yankees, given his dependability and success in the Bronx, but the team’s focus has been squarely on DJ LeMahieu to this point. A Tanaka reunion still seems plausible, particularly if LeMahieu ultimately goes elsewhere. As Rosenthal points out, the 32-year-old Tanaka is no stranger to Padres pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who served as the right-hander’s pitching coach with the Yankees from 2014-18. And based on his track record, Tanaka ought to have plenty of other suitors. He’s also left the door open for a possible return to Japan.
Tanaka started 10 games for the Yankees in 2020, pitching to a 3.56 ERA and 4.07 SIERA while striking out 22.3 percent of the hitters he faced against a 4.1 percent walk rate — the latter being the second-best mark of his career. While Tanaka may not be the ace that Yankees fans hoped he could become when he was initially signed to a seven-year contract, he’s become a rock-solid mid-rotation starter who could deepen just about any staff in baseball. Over the past three seasons, Tanaka has pitched to a 4.06 ERA and near-identical 4.03 SIERA with a 16.9 K-BB%.
At the moment, the San Diego rotation figures to be headlined by Darvish, Snell, Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack. Young lefty Adrian Morejon could be the early favorite for the fifth spot, and uber-prospect MacKenzie Gore looms on the horizon as an expected addition at some point in 2021. Still, Lamet missed the postseason due to elbow troubles, and signing Tanaka could help the Padres to limit the workloads of not only Lamet but also touted youngsters like Morejon and Gore. It’s expected that clubs will look for ways to prevent major workload spikes from 2020’s 60-game slate to what is currently hoped to be a full 162-game set in 2021; signing Tanaka or another veteran arm would certainly help a win-now Padres club work toward that end.
The larger question for the Padres could be one of spending capacity. The Friars are already in line to open the season north of $160MM both in present-day payroll and luxury tax obligations. Both are franchise records for the San Diego organization at a time when most other clubs throughout the league are looking to offset revenue losses from this past season. Signing Tanaka would quite likely push the Padres beyond $170MM.
Beyond the everyday lineup, the Phillies are also still looking for more bullpen help in the wake of a disastrous performance from the 2020 relief corps. To this end, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter) reports that the Phillies and Padres are interested in closer Alex Colome, joining such previously-known suitors as the Twins and Red Sox. The Astros and Nationals were also linked to Colome earlier this winter, but the White Sox are now likely out of the running after signing Liam Hendriks.
Colome would be yet another big offseason addition for the aggressive Padres, who look to be challengers for the NL pennant but are still lacking some help at the back of the bullpen with Trevor Rosenthal and Kirby Yates both in free agency. A proven closer like Colome would only further strengthen an already solid San Diego bullpen, but the Phillies clearly have the more glaring need for relief help.
Jan. 12: Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin of The Athletic report that Preller visited Tatis in the Dominican Republic last week. While that might seem to run contrary to yesterday’s report from Nightengale, ESPN’s Jeff Passan adds that Preller and Tatis did indeed meet, but no offer has been made. Passan characterizes things similarly to Nightengale, suggesting that Preller & Co. expect talks to take place and that last week’s meeting could be a precursor to earnest negotiations. The Padres are optimistic about getting something done before Opening Day, per The Athletic.
Jan. 11: Reports of an imminent contract extension for Tatis may be premature. Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Tatis and the Padres have yet to begin contract negotiations. Both sides remain amenable to an extension, and they are likely to begin discussions before spring training in mid-February, writes Nightengale. There is no rush for the two sides, however, and it remains wholly possible that Tatis will begin the 2021 season without a long-term extension in place.
Jan. 9: The Padres are in talks with star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. about a massive contract extension, Dominican news outlet Pio Deportes reports (Twitter link). The deal would keep Tatis in San Diego into the next decade, as the extension is reportedly an 11-year pact worth $320MM. According to both Pio Deportes and NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jessica Kleinschmidt (Twitter link), talks seem pretty advanced, as a source tells Kleinschmidt there is “ink on paper” but the deal still might not be finalized within the next week.
The $320MM figure would make Tatis’ extension the sixth-richest contract in baseball history, dropping teammate Manny Machado’s ten-year/$300MM pact down into seventh on the all-time list. Between these two major deals, hefty contracts for Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer, and even the recent trades that brought Yu Darvish and Blake Snell to San Diego, Padres GM A.J. Preller and team ownership are again indicating that the team is prepared to spend at top-tier levels.
Hosmer’s deal runs through at least the 2025 season, Machado is signed through 2028 with an opt-out after the 2023 season, and the discussed terms of Tatis’ deal would lock him up through the 2031 campaign. It seems quite possible that the Tatis extension will also include at least one opt-out, as since Tatis only just turned 22 years old, he and his agents at the MVP Sports Group might want at least one crack at entering the market (or extracting more years and money in a renegotiation with the Padres) during Tatis’ prime years.
Tatis is controlled through the 2024 season, via one pre-arbitration year and three years of arbitration eligibility. The Padres famously placed Tatis on the roster for Opening Day 2019, eschewing a chance to keep him the minors long enough for the team to gain an extra year of control over his services — this decision immediately started Tatis’ service clock but gave the Padres more short-term opportunity in terms of getting a star product on the roster to help the big league team.
An extension would essentially make that debate a moot point, and given how Tatis has performed in the majors, one can hardly fault Preller and company for wanting to unleash him on MLB as quickly as possible. Despite battling hamstring and back problems in his rookie year, Tatis has hit .301/.374/.582 with 39 homers and 27 steals (in 36 chances) over his 629 plate appearances in 2019-20. This past season, Tatis earned a Silver Slugger Award and finished fourth in NL MVP voting.
There is obvious risk in committing such money to a player who is still so young, and has played the equivalent of essentially only one full season. That said, it also makes sense for the Padres to take the leap on a player who showed such promise in the minors (much to the chagrin of the White Sox) and has already made a big impact in San Diego’s lineup.
It’s safe to assume that Tatis’ annual salaries throughout what would have been his arb years would be somewhat limited, in order to give the Padres more flexibility in terms of pure dollars while the money owed to Myers, Snell, and Drew Pomeranz gradually come off the books. If Tatis’ big annual salaries don’t kick in until 2025, that leaves only Machado, Hosmer, and possibly Ha-Seong Kim (at an $11MM mutual option) still remaining on the payroll.
The Competitive Balance Tax is the other interesting wrinkle, as the average annual value of Tatis’ deal (a little over $29.09MM) would be counted against the Padres’ tax bill for all 11 seasons, no matter what Tatis made in terms of actual dollars. Assuming Tatis’ extension begins in the 2021 season, San Diego would still have some flexibility under the $210MM tax threshold this year, as their current tax estimate is roughly $165.28MM. Padres ownership also might not mind exceeding the CBT threshold for a season or two if such an expenditure landed the club a “final piece of the puzzle” type of player for a World Series contender.
At the outset of the offseason, Nelson Cruz was said to be seeking a two-year deal, in theory from the Minnesota Twins. Not much has changed on that front, though as time wears on, it seems less and less likely the Twins will meet his demand. Coming off back-to-back silver slugger awards as the Twins’ designated hitter, it would seem a given that Minnesota would do whatever necessary to bring back Cruz, even as he enters his age-40 season. He’s a team leader, a fan favorite, and a standout citizen, evidenced by being the Twins’ Roberto Clemente Award nominee in 2020 and in winning the Marvin Miller Man Of The Year Award for being the player who has earned the “most respect based on his leadership on the field and in the community,” as explained the Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III back in October.
Under a different context, the opportunity to add a 163 wRC+ hitter for two years at $14MM per season would be almost too good to believe. Under the current context, however, the Twins have yet to sign Cruz, nor even has there been much in the way of dialogue, per Neal’s newest piece for the Star Tribune. Neal consulted with multiple sources to provide a timeline of Cruz’s negotiation with the Twins so far this winter.
The Twins made a one-year offer during the opening weeks of free agency, then pulled it off the table after a couple of weeks. A second contract offer was made during the holidays that went nowhere as Cruz’s camp waited for word on the NL. There hasn’t been a lot of back-and-forth negotiating between the sides.
The assumption is there will be no designated hitter in the National League in 2021, which limits the field of potential Cruz suitors, but if the Twins wait long enough, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be more opportunities for Cruz. Interestingly, Neal names the Padres as one NL team that would be interested in Cruz were there to be a DH in the NL. Adding Cruz to any lineup ought to be a boon for that team, though putting him on a Padres roster with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado could very well make the Friars one of the more highly anticipated rosters MLB has seen in some time. Over the past two seasons, Cruz slashed .308/.394/.626 with a monstrous .318 ISO, 11 percent walk rate, 25.7 percent strikeout rate, 163 wRC+, and 6.2 fWAR over 735 plate appearances.