The seemingly ageless nature of Nelson Cruz was reaffirmed on November 29 when the 43-year old veteran inked a deal with the Dodgers. Already, fans are happy to have the veteran back in 2024, albeit in a different role.
Cruz spent last season on the San Diego Padres. In 49 games, the Dominican hit .245/.283/.399 with 5 home runs and 23 RBIs. Battling injuries, it soon became clear that the four-time Silver Slugger was not the hitter that he once was.
After he announced his intent to retire, many fans were upset that Nelson Cruz would be calling it quits after nine teams over nineteen seasons. However, a happy surprise came when it was announced that Cruz would be returning to MLB in another capacity.
“Nelson Cruz has taken a job with the Dodgers” – Talkin’ Baseball
Cruz was hired as a hitting advisor to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A career .274 hitter, Cruz knows how to connect. Fans took to the comments to praise the decision that the Dodgers had made by hiring one of MLB’s most experienced hitters.
Although Cruz’ first team was the Brewers, the DH and right fielder made his name playing for the Texas Rangers from 2006 to 2013. He would then go to the Orioles, where his lead-leading 40 home runs in 2014 earned him an All-Star nod, and a finalist distinction in that year’s MVP selection process.
While Cruz was suspended in 2014 for his role in the biogenesis scandal, the utility man continued to press along. In 2019, as a member of the Minnesota Twins, Cruz put forth a career year, hitting .311/.392/.639 with 41 home runs and 109 RBIs. Now under a different role, Cruz will be able to impart some of the mechanics that made him so successful on the Dodgers’ lineup.
Nelson Cruz’ addition comes as a bonus to one of MLB’s best hitting teams
The Dodgers’ .257 team batting average during the 2023 regular season placed them third in the NL in the category, with their success primarily driven by big bats like Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. With taking on Nelson Cruz, the Dodgers can expect to add a very experienced voice to an already competent team.
Despite playing nineteen years in MLB, Cruz never won a World Series. Perhaps now, imparting knowledge from the sidelines, Cruz can make that expectation become a reality for him and his new team.