The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2023 with designated hitter Nelson Cruz on Thursday. Additionally, Washington designated right-handed pitcher Jhon Romero for assignment. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Cruz, 41, is a seven-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger winner, and ranks third on Major League Baseball’s active career home run list with 449 home runs entering the 2022 season. Since the start of the 2014 season, Cruz leads Major League Baseball with 292 home runs, while his 749 RBI rank third and his .549 slugging percentage rank fourth.
Related Quick Notes: Nelson Cruz Optimistic About the Washington Nationals in 2022
Cruz opened the 2021 season with Minnesota before being acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays on July 22. In 140 games between the two clubs, he hit .265 with 21 doubles, one triple, 32 home runs, 86 RBI, 51 walks, three stolen bases, and 79 runs scored. He posted a .497 slugging percentage and a .832 OPS. He hit at least 30 home runs for the eighth time in his career, becoming the oldest player in Major League history with a 30-homer season, passing Boston’s David Ortiz (38; 40 years old) in 2016 and Detroit’s Darrell Evans (34; 40 years old) in 1987.
No stranger to the Postseason, Cruz has hit .278 with a .348 on-base percentage and a .631 slugging percentage in 50 career Postseason games. His .979 career Postseason OPS ranks fifth all-time (min. 150 PA) behind Babe Ruth (1.214), George Brett (1.023), Carlos Beltran (1.021), and Albert Pujols (1.007). He has appeared in two World Series (2010, 2011) and was named American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player in 2011.
A veteran of 17 Major League seasons, Cruz has hit .277 with 351 doubles, 14 triples, 449 home runs, 1,238 RBI, 683 walks, 79 stolen bases and 1,031 runs scored in 1,882 career games. He has a career .527 slugging percentage and a .873 OPS. Cruz began his career with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005 before spending time with the Texas Rangers (2006–13), Baltimore Orioles (2014), Seattle Mariners (2015–18), Minnesota Twins (2019–21), and the Tampa Bay Rays (2021).
Romero, 27, appeared in five games for Washington in 2021, posting a 4.50 ERA in 4.0 innings pitched.