MLB Rumors: Nelson Cruz Has Suitor in NL West

Is the ageless Nelson Cruz ready to turn back the clock once again in 2023? He actually did show a bit of his age last season, but MLB teams haven't given up on him yet.   

Per Jon Heyman, the San Diego Padres have shown some interest in Cruz, and GM AJ Preller is very familiar with him from their time together with the Texas Rangers. 

The Padres recently signed Matt Carpenter, who would mainly serve in the DH role, so perhaps they'd be looking at a platoon there, as Carp bats left, and Cruz brings his thunder from the right side. 

Certainly, Cruz has beaten up on pitchers of all kinds during his 18-year career, but he does bat 30 points higher against lefties, with an OPS 100 points higher. Allowing both Cruz and Carpenter to rest up between starts could preserve both of them in better health for the season.

Cruz recently underwent successful eye surgery to address inflammation, and that issue may have been partly to blame for his big dropoff in '22. He finished by hitting .234 with 10 home runs and 64 RBI, with an OPS of .651 — the lowest of his career since his first full season in 2006.

Of course, Mother Nature may also be to blame. He is 42, after all. 

Cruz will begin his 2023 by serving as GM and active player for the Dominican Republic in the 2023 World Cup of Baseball in March.

Photo: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports