As Nelson Cruz‘s options for a new team toggle between the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, and a return to the Texas Rangers, it appears that a new potential suitor has emerged.
The Minnesota Twins are reportedly on the fringe of the Cruz sweepstakes. This according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN1500:
#MNTwins are still a long-shot to land FA OF Nelson Cruz. Still monitoring. Told they have seen him swing at some point this winter.
— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) January 29, 2014
Presumably that means that somebody from the organization has seen him swing a bat, as opposed to seeing him partake in some other form of swinging.
Even that hardly seems to indicate much more than a passing interest. Wolfson emphasizes the fact that it’s a long shot, but what if the Twins did sign Cruz? Having quietly added pitching depth with Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, the team still has to find some offense to replace the departed Justin Morneau and the disappearing Josh Willingham. Even with the cloud of a PED suspension in his recent past, Cruz could provide a significant boost to Minnesota’s offense.
Putting Cruz in the same lineup as Joe Mauer would certainly be intriguing, both for next season and seasons beyond. The Twins have built up one heck of a farm system, and even little rumors like this one seem to point to better things ahead.