Twins' Updated Lineup, Payroll After Nelson Cruz Reportedly Signs New Contract

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 3, 2021

Minnesota Twins' Nelson Cruz celebrates after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning in the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Nelson Cruz has agreed to return to the Minnesota Twins on a one-year deal, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.

"While a reunion with Minnesota was long expected, the likely lack of a designated hitter in the National League this season hastened the agreement and brought Cruz back to where he is beloved," Passan wrote.

Cruz will receive $13 million this season, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

The 40-year-old will be playing his third season with the Twins and 17th overall in an MLB career that has included stops with the Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and Minnesota.

Here's a look at how the Twins lineup may shake out with Cruz back in the fold, per RosterResource (via FanGraphs). A payroll estimation can also be found below via Cot's Contracts.


Projected Minnesota Batting Order

1. RF Max Kepler

2. 2B Luis Arraez

3. 3B Josh Donaldson

4. DH Nelson Cruz

5. 1B Miguel Sano

6. LF Alex Kirilloff

7. CF Byron Buxton

8. C Ryan Jeffers

9. SS Andrelton Simmons



C Mitch Garver

INF Jorge Polanco

OF Jake Cave

OF/1B Brent Rooker



Prior to the Cruz deal, Cot's Contracts listed the Twins' 26-man Opening Day payroll at $107,627,666. The addition of Cruz at $13 million in 2021 would presumably put the Twins' payroll at $120,627,666 for now, although that number is nowhere near final with the Opening Day still two months away.


Notes on Cruz

Cruz has been at the forefront of a power surge in Minnesota that started in the 2019 season, when the team hit an MLB-record 307 home runs. Cruz led that team with 41 dingers and finished second on the Twins with 108 RBI and a .311 batting average.

That Twins team won the American League Central after posting 101 wins but fell to the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series.

Minnesota once again went yard frequently in 2020, hitting 91 home runs in a 60-game season shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That mark was good enough for third in the American League and sixth in the bigs.

Cruz once again proved to be money at the dish, hitting a team-high 16 home runs alongside 33 RBI and a .303 batting average.

The Twins won the AL Central for the second consecutive year, finishing with the league's second-best record at 36-24. However, they fell short in the Wild Card Series, losing to the Houston Astros.

Minnesota's batting order will look a bit different this year sans outfielder Eddie Rosario, who signed with Cleveland as a free agent. Shortstop and defense wizard Andrelton Simmons was brought in from the Los Angeles Angels to shore up the team's middle infield.

Alex Kirilloff, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft, also figures to be a regular this year after making his debut in last year's playoffs.

The rest of the lineup is largely intact from 2020. Expect the Twins to bash the ball and finish with a winning record once again in 2021, with the ageless Cruz defying time for at least one more year.