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Twins pick up Nelson Cruz’s 2020 option

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In the least-shocking news that will happen today — including the sunrise/sunset report in the corner of the weather page — Jon Heyman reports that the Minnesota Twins will pick up Nelson Cruz‘s 2020 option. It will pay the slugger $12 million.

Cruz signed a one-year, $14.3 million deal with the Twins late last year with the $12 million option for next season. So, yeah, he’s actually taking a pay cut following a season in which he hit .311/.392/.639 with 41 homers and 108 runs batted in. He’s had better overall years when measured by WAR because he used to play defense, but 2019 was his best year measured by OPS+.

Still, the idea was that Cruz would, you know, age eventually and that his age 38 season might be a step down from his age 37 season and that his age 39 season — next year — would be even worse, thus justifying the declining pay scale. Having a career offensive year at an age when most guys are out of the league is not typical.

Now Cruz and the Twins will see if he can defy aging for yet another season.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.