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Twins sign Nelson Cruz to one-year, $14.3 million contract

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that Twins and Nelson Cruz are in agreement on a one-year deal with an option. The contract will pay Cruz $14.3 million in 2019 and $12 million if the club picks up his option in 2020.

Cruz, who will turn 39 next season, hit .256/.342/.509 with 37 homers last season. Those rate stats were down a bit, but peripheral stats and Statcast metrics suggest he hasn’t lost a step but, rather, just hit into some bad luck in 2018. Obviously at his age you have to assume a decline will soon occur, but for now it seems like he remains a serious power threat. Either way, Cruz has averaged 40.6 homers a year over the past five years. There hasn’t been a more consistent power hitter around, really.

If that consistency falters in 2019, hey, it’s a one-year deal with a cheap $300,000 buyout for 2020. On that score he’ll be a nice addition to a Twins lineup even if he takes a step back.

Report: Yankees could be in on Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado
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The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.

The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.

Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.