Cruz is 42 years old and declining: he hasn’t been good since the first half of the 2021 campaign.
However, for the money the Padres are giving him ($1 million) this at least has the potential to be a steal.
“The Padres signing Nelson Cruz for $1 million dollars might be the greatest deal in MLB history since the Yankees got Babe Ruth for $100,000,” analyst Ben Verlander tweeted.
The Padres signing Nelson Cruz for $1 million dollars might be the greatest deal in MLB history since the Yankees got Babe Ruth for $100,000
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) January 11, 2023
Let’s not forget that even mediocre or middling players get $5 or $10 million per year.
However, since he is 42, MLB teams weren’t particularly keen on offering Cruz much more than $1 million.
Their loss might be the Padres’ gain.
If it doesn’t work out, the Padres might just eat the million and release him: teams have eaten much, much more than that for deals that fail to pan out.
However, if everything clicks, the Padres might have a $1 million DH with 30-homer power and an OPS over .800.
Let’s not forget that as recently as 2021, Cruz hit 32 round-trippers and finished with a .832 OPS and a 123 wRC+.
He was downright bad last year with the Washington Nationals, with a .651 OPS and an 85 wRC+.
But he is already working out and swinging a bat, preparing for what might be his last chance in MLB.
The Padres surely like the fact he could be a mentor and role model for young players with erratic behavior like Fernando Tatis Jr.
He is also reuniting with Juan Soto, with whom he teamed up in Washington last season.
This is the definition of a low-risk, high reward signing.
Good for San Diego.