Twins sign Cruz for power, leadership

Published 7:44 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — With an opening for a designated hitter and a need for more power in the lineup, the Minnesota Twins found quite a fit on the free agent market with a six-time All-Star in Nelson Cruz.

They’ll be counting on his impact beyond the middle of the batting order. There’s a clubhouse filled with still-developing players who could use his wisdom, too.

The Twins signed Cruz to a one-year, $14.3 million contract that comes with a $12 million club option for 2020, formalizing Wednesday their addition of a player whose 203 home runs over the previous five seasons are the most in the major leagues during that span.

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“I don’t think we view Nelson just as a DH,” Twins general manager Thad Levine said. “He’s clearly going to be occupying that spot in the lineup, but as we’ve intimated, and you’ve got to hear in his voice, what he brings to the table is so much more than that. So we did prioritize this type of offensive production. We did try to prioritize this type of quality of character and leadership.”