464 Career Home Runs Now On Free Agent Market

It took Father Time quite a while to catch up with him, but now it appears that 43-year-old veteran slugger Nelson Cruz may finally be slowing down. And with his unremarkable start to the 2023 season, the San Diego Padres have designated him for assignment. 

Padres manager Bob Melvin said it wasn't an easy move to make:

Obviously a tough one. He's a big impact in the clubhouse. Across the board, throughout the league, the respect that he brings, playing against him from afar, it's fantastic.

But Cruz managed just five HR and 23 RBIs in 49 games for the Friars this season, with an OPS+ of 89 which is his lowest in 16 years. He was also striking out at a career-high 30.3% rate.

Many would argue that Matt Carpenter, another aging veteran the Padres employ, is having a worse year than the DH Cruz — and he is, batting .178 with an OPS+ of 78 — but his $6M contract is not one they're ready to eat. Cruz had only signed a $1M deal. In addition, Carpenter has a bit more versatility, being able to play a little first base, and even some outfield in a pinch if needed. 

Cruz has compiled 464 home runs over the course of his 19-year major league career, along with a .274 average, an .856 OPS and an OPS+ of 130.

The 7-time All-Star will check out the market to see if there's any team still looking to give a respected veteran with an imposing clubhouse presence a chance. 

Photo: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports