4 teams that could use Nelson Cruz as their designated hitter

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates his solo homerun in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 07, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates his solo homerun in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 07, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Jul 17, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

With the designated hitter likely coming to the National League in time for the 2022 Major League Baseball season, the opportunities for Nelson Cruz to use his skills as a DH will expand greatly.

The 41-year-old Cruz (who will turn 42 on July 1) has shown that he can be a dangerous weapon as a designated hitter, finishing in the top 10 of American League MVP voting in 2019 and 2020 while never playing a defensive position with the Minnesota Twins. Last season, split between the Twins and Tampa Bay Rays, Cruz earned an All-Star Game bid, the seventh of his career.

Where could Cruz end up in 2022? Let’s look at four potential landing spots, understanding that Cruz is predicted to sign a one-year, $12 million deal.

The Minnesota Twins could use Nelson Cruz as their designated hitter in 2022

So when we’re looking at potential landing spots for Cruz, perhaps the most obvious is back with the Twins. During his time in Minnesota, Cruz slashed .304/.386/.598 with 76 home runs and 191 RBI in 1,081 plate appearances.

But there is more to Cruz heading back to Minnesota than just what he’s done on the field. He and Twins first baseman Miguel Sanó have formed a deep relationship that includes Cruz being the godfather of Sanó’s daughter. The Twins also honored Cruz this past season with the Bob Allison Award, given to “the Twins player who exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field.” It was the third straight season Cruz has won the award.

With the Twins committing to Byron Buxton before the lockout, the franchise is showing it’s not afraid to spend. Could that include reinserting Cruz into the lineup?