MLB rumors: Twins will pick up Nelson Cruz's $12 million contract option for 2020 season

Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz was vital to the Twins' surprise division championship in 2019, and he's reportedly not going anywhere. That's because the Twins will pick up their $12 million option on Cruz for the 2020 season, Jon Heyman reports

It's an obvious decision, even given the minuscule $300,000 buyout on that option. Cruz in his age-38 campaign batted .311/.392/.639 (166 OPS+) with 41 home runs -- including career home run No. 400 -- in 120 games. Suffice it to say, that's an elite level of production. 

Obviously, when a hitter is in his late thirties, sudden decline is always possible. Cruz, however, has defied the aging curve in a big way. When he left Texas via free agency following the 2013 season, he found a chilled market for his services, as teams defensibly wondered whether his best days were behind him. However, in the six seasons since then Cruz has authored an OPS+ of 148 while averaging 45 home runs per 162 games played. 

This past season, Cruz endured two IL stints because of left wrist problems, but otherwise he's been mostly healthy over the past several seasons. Given that the Twins will be angling to repeat as AL Central champs in 2020, bringing back their No. 3 hitter is an easy call. 

The Twins in 2019 set an MLB record with 307 home runs, and Cruz paced the team with his 41 homers. The team that finished second to them in home runs -- the Yankees, with 306 -- just recently completed a sweep of Minnesota in the ALDS. Cruz in that series put up a .929 OPS with a home run. 

Cruz is set to return to a Twins lineup that in 2020 will also include, barring the unexpected, Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, and Marwin Gonzalez, among others. 

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for and He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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