Reports: Padres, Nelson Cruz agree to 1-year, $1M deal

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SAN DIEGO — Longtime slugger Nelson Cruz agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the San Diego Padres, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.

The people spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract is pending a physical and had not been completed.

The right-handed-hitting Cruz, who turns 43 on July 1, is expected to platoon at DH with 37-year-old lefty hitter Matt Carpenter, who signed a one-year deal with the Padres last month.

Cruz is a seven-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner who has 459 career home runs in 18 big league seasons. He had 10 homers and 64 RBIs in 124 games with Washington last year. He didn’t play after Sept. 13 due to an eye condition that required offseason surgery. Cruz received a $3 million buyout after the Nationals declined a mutual option.

Cruz has 18 postseason homers and played in consecutive World Series with the Texas Rangers. San Diego reached the NL Championship Series last year before losing to Philadelphia.

With the Padres, Cruz will be reunited with former teammates Manny Machado and Juan Soto. Cruz is noted for his veteran clubhouse presence, and was given Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award for character, community involvement and philanthropy in 2021 while with Tampa Bay.

Cruz will be general manager/player with the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Machado and Soto will also play for the Dominican Republic.

The Padres also announced that suspended shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. will be one of several star players to appear at FanFest on Feb. 4 at Petco Park. It will be Tatis’ first public appearance since he was suspended for 80 games on Aug. 12 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Tatis will be eligible to return on April 20.

Jesus Luzardo beats Marlins in salary arbitration

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Pitcher Jesus Luzardo became the second player in two days to beat the Miami Marlins in salary arbitration and was awarded $2.45 million.

Miami had argued for $2.1 million during a hearing Thursday before a panel of John Stout, Melinda Gordon and Richard Bloch.

AL batting champion Luis Arraez, an All-Star infielder acquired by the Marlins from Minnesota last month, was awarded a $6.1 million salary on Thursday rather than the team’s $5 million figure.

Luzardo, a 25-year-old left-hander, was 4-7 with a 3.32 ERA in 18 starts last year, striking out 120 and walking 35 in 100 1/3 innings. He is 13-18 with a 3.59 ERA in 45 starts and 16 relief appearances over four big league seasons.

Luzardo made $715,000 last season and was eligible for arbitration for the first time. He can become a free agent after the 2026 season.

Players have won two of three decisions this year, with about 20 more scheduled for hearings.

Seattle defeated Diego Castillo in the first decision this year on Wednesday, and the relief pitcher will get a raise to $2.95 million rather than his request of $3,225,000.

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday.