Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have exercised the club option on designated hitter Nelson Cruz through the 2020 season. Additionally, the Twins have extended a qualifying offer to right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi and will decline the club option on left-handed pitcher Martín Pérez.
Cruz, who was signed as a free agent in January, played in 120 games for the Twins in 2019, hitting .311 (141-for-454) with 26 doubles, 41 home runs, 108 RBI, 81 runs scored, 56 walks and a 1.031 OPS, the best of his 15-year career. During the 2019 season, the 39-year-old ranked second in the American League in OPS and slugging percentage (.639), tied for third in home runs, and seventh in RBI. The 15-year veteran has hit .277 (1721-for-6212) with 324 doubles, 401 home runs, 1119 RBI, 919 runs scored and 607 walks with an .873 OPS in 1689 career games. The Dominican Republic native ranks 57th on baseball’s all-time home run list and was named the 2019 recipient of the Calvin R. Griffith Award for Most Valuable Twin.
Odorizzi, a 2019 American League All-Star, led the Twins pitching staff in wins last season, going a career-best 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA (159.0 IP, 62 ER), 53 walks and a career-high 178 strikeouts. Since joining the Twins in a trade during February of 2018, the Breese, Illinois native has gone 22-17 with a 4.01 ERA (323.1 IP, 144 ER), 123 walks and 340 strikeouts in 62 starts.
Pérez pitched in 32 games for the Twins in 2019, including 29 starts, going 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA (165.1 IP, 94 ER), 67 walks and 135 strikeouts. The eight-year veteran has a career record of 53-56 with a 4.72 ERA (926.2 IP, 486 ER) in 173 games (157 starts).
Additionally, the New York Mets have claimed left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves off waivers from the Twins, while right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart has been outrighted off the roster and will become a minor league free agent. Gonsalves, who was selected by the Twins in the fourth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, missed most of the 2019 season, suffering from a stress reaction in his left elbow. Stewart, who was selected by the Twins in the first round (4th overall) in the 2013 Draft, appeared in nine games (2 starts) over seven stints with the Twins in 2019, going 2-2 with a 6.39 ERA (25.1 IP, 18 ER).
The Twins 40-man roster is now at 31.