Twins finalize $13M contract with Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz (23) hits a RBI double
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins finalized their $13 million, one-year contract with designated hitter Nelson Cruz on Wednesday, retaining the most valuable player from the AL Central champion teams of the last two seasons.

The 40-year-old Cruz agreed to the deal a week ago for his 17th major league season. Cruz has led the Twins in home runs in each of his two years with the Twins and ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the AL in OPS. The six-time All-Star won Silver Slugger awards in 2019 and 2020.

Last season, Cruz batted .303 with 16 homers and 33 RBIs in 53 games in the pandemic-shortened schedule. He won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2020, an honor voted on by his peers for a player most respected for leadership on the field and in the community. Cruz won the team MVP and leadership awards in each of the last two seasons as well.

Uncertainty about whether the DH would be used in the NL this year contributed to the delay an agreement, but both Cruz and the Twins expressed a mutual desire for him to return all along.

The first pitchers and catchers workout of spring training for the Twins is set for Feb. 19, with the first full-squad workout following on Feb. 23.