Nelson Cruz isn’t sure how long he intends to play beyond the upcoming season, but the 39-year-old slugger said earlier today that the 2020 campaign won’t be his last one, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. That’s not a huge surprise, given that Cruz’s camp has already had some talks with the Twins about extending his contract. Cruz plans to take things “year by year,” but it’s easy to imagine him continuing as long as he produces at such a high level.
Cruz, who’ll turn 40 in July, suited up for 120 games and tallied 521 plate appearances with Minnesota last year, hitting at a .311/.392/.639 clip with 41 home runs and 26 doubles. His 163 wRC+ ranked fourth in the Majors among qualified hitters, trailing only Mike Trout, Christian Yelich and Alex Bregman. He’s earning $12M this season after the Twins picked up a club option on the heels of last year’s excellent output.
Some more notes out of Fort Myers…
- Twins utilityman Marwin Gonzalez underwent a debridement of the patella tendon in his right knee this offseason, he revealed to reporters today (link via La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune). That surgery, which he described as relatively minor, had him behind schedule early in camp. However, Gonzalez made his Grapefruit League debut today and swatted a home run and a double while playing second base in his first outing of the spring. Neal notes that because Gonzalez sometimes still feels a bit of soreness after workouts, he could be held out of the team’s outfield mix early in the season to limit his running.
- Left fielder Eddie Rosario spoke with Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com about last year’s ankle injury and the manner in which it impacted him in the second half of the season. As Park points out, Statcast points to a notable dip in Rosario’s average sprint speed following his return from the IL, and Rosario himself acknowledged that he couldn’t run at 100 percent and that the ankle sprain “affected everything.” There’s probably no more glaring evidence of Rosario’s limited mobility than his defensive ratings; in 2018, Rosario posted +9 Defensive Runs Saved, a +4.2 Ultimate Zone Rating and -2 Outs Above Average. In 2019, those numbers absolutely plummeted (-6 DRS, -5.7 UZR and an MLB-worst -17 OAA).
Twins skipper Rocco Baldelli tells Park that the team is pleased with Rosario’s improved mobility this spring, calling last summer’s injury “fairly significant” and echoing the fact that the 28-year-old never fully recovered from that June 26 ankle sprain.