Nelson Cruz and the Minnesota Twins have reached a one-year, $13 million deal keeping the slugger in the Twin Cities. ESPN's Jeff Passan was first to report. The slugger, who turns 41 in July, is coming off a spectacular 2020 season in which he slugged 16 homers in 53 games and posted a .303/.397/.595 slash line. This followed an even better 2019 campaign that ended with a 1.031 OPS, 41 longballs and 108 RBIs.
The Twins will contend for a playoff spot and continue putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard with regularity. It's not likely that Cruz will emerge out the other side with an MVP in tow, but it's not completely out of the question either. He's quietly finished in the Top-10 of voting in five of the past seven years. What if he is capable of elevating his game even higher as his teeth grow longer?
If some advanced-age magic does happen, he'll become the oldest to win the award in the history of baseball, besting Barry Bonds by over a year. It would be entirely Tom Brady-ish, only with 1/57th of the fanfare. Because Cruz is a quiet superstar, potentially the quietest. Such things happen when a baseball player inexplicably reaches his prime at 40 years-old.
His career has moved at an unprecedented pace. Consider that he had all of 22 Major League homers before his age-28 season. Then consider he's amassed 417 and could, through clean living and two more stellar years, reach the 500-mark.
In 173 games with Minnesota, Cruz has blasted 57 homers and driven in 141 runs while carrying a four-figure OPS. So doubt him at your own risk. This is a man aging like a fine wine and Twins fans should be opening something expensive with the knowledge he'll be producing for them deep into his Judd Apatow years.