Twins officially pick up Nelson Cruz's option

November 4th, 2019

The Twins officially picked up their $12 million club option on designated hitter for the 2020 season on Monday.

Cruz had been signed to a one-year, $14 million contract last offseason with the club option for 2020.

Though Cruz turned 39 years old during the 2019 season, he still enjoyed one of the most productive campaigns of his 15-year career, as he led the Twins with a .311/.392/.639 batting line -- the best slugging percentage and OPS of his career -- and also paced the Bomba Squad with 41 homers. His 1.031 OPS was second in the American League behind only .

Cruz led the Major Leagues with 346 homers in the last decade, and his 2019 campaign marked his fourth season with 40 or more homers in the last six years and made him just the fourth player in Major League history to post a 40-homer season in his age-38 season or older, joining Barry Bonds ('03-04), Darrell Evans (1985) and Hank Aaron ('73).

Cruz has had a strong impact on young slugger , who had a locker next to Cruz at Target Field and had expressed his desire earlier this season for Cruz to eventually retire as a member of the Twins. Sanó said that he absorbed a lot from watching Cruz's routine throughout the year, as Sanó, too, had one of the best years of his career with 34 homers and a .923 OPS in 105 games.

"He's one of the most special people I've seen in my life," Sanó said. "He tries to help the young players and the old players, and everything he does is good for the people."

Cruz's continued presence on the roster should also pay dividends for the sizable young, Latin-American contingent on the Twins, including , Sanó, All-Stars and , and rookies like and . Behind the leadership of figures like Cruz and , that group should continue to maintain its loose, productive vibe in the Twins' clubhouse.

"It feels very special to play alongside Nelson," Polanco said. "He's a great leader, a great human being, a great friend, and obviously a great player. So he brings a lot of things to the table. It's been very special."