MLB Free Agency Rumors: Nelson Cruz Signs With Washington Nationals

The universal designated hitter being implemented as part of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) figured to be of benefit for veteran sluggers, with Nelson Cruz and Albert Pujols among those already being impacted.

Cruz and Pujols have reportedly drawn interest from multiple National League teams, with the Los Angeles Dodgers linked to the former. Cruz additionally was connected to the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres, among others.

Cruz has spent the majority of his career playing left field or right field, if not serving as a DH. He made one start at first base for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the 41-year-old has agreed to sign with Washington Nationals:

Cruz joining the Nationals is a bit of a surprise as it was reported Sunday afternoon the Dodgers and Padres had emerged as the frontrunners.

Cruz spent the 2021 campaign with the Minnesota Twins and Rays, was named to the All-Star Game and hit a combined .265/.334/.497 with 21 doubles, 32 home runs and 86 RBI over 140 games.

Cruz named Roberto Clemente Award winner

During the World Series last year Cruz was named the winner of the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award, which is presented annually to the player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

“Luis, your dad, your foundation, his foundation, it has been so much important for us Latin players, and me, my family, my foundation, we’re really, really happy,” Cruz said during a press conference when he was presented with the award.

“It’s been a blessed day with the news to win the Roberto Clemente Award because so many players out there, they also do an incredible job. Like I said in the past, we understand that Roberto was the one who guided everybody, this is the way. Because of him, it seems like every player tries to do the same thing.

“I remember my first few years in the big leagues, I always see Michael Jordan doing the stuff, and that was one of the things I would say I want to do that one day. But growing up, my dad and my mom, they always involve events for the community, try to get the community better. Whatever it takes, whatever the needs, they find a way.

“Even today, they’re really involved in the community. That was an example that I followed to do the work that I do right now. So from the bottom of my heart, my family, my foundation, thanks everybody.”

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