Great player, just doesn’t fit
It feels like the Blue Jays are entering this off-season with less needs than usual, although there’s no denying they could use another high-end starting pitcher for next season. However, there are some areas that they have well covered already, and I’d point to first base/DH as one that can be checked off at this early stage.
Between Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Rowdy Tellez, the Blue Jays could have their solution to 1B/DH for many years to come, and they’ll continue to use the DH spot rest other regulars as well. With that in mind, I can’t imagine a scenario where they would pursue someone like Nelson Cruz, who is set to become a free agent again this winter.
The ageless wonder continues to be one of the best hitters in the American League, as he posted a .303/.397/.595 slash line with 16 home runs and 33 RBI in 185 at-bats this season. Most 40 year olds are forced out of the game, and yet Cruz seems like he’s still improving, and there should be plenty of teams interested in paying him handsomely on a one-year contract this winter. He was scheduled to make 12 million before MLB salaries were prorated this year, and I suspect that he’ll receive a well-earned raise, even as a 40-year-old who is limited to designated hitting duties.
Normally I’d be all for the Blue Jays adding a veteran like Cruz to a talented young group like they have in Toronto, but unfortunately it just doesn’t look like there’s a fit to be had. Most likely, I assume that the Twins hope to bring him back for at least one more year, as they should.