SAN DIEGO ( Associated Press) — Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the San Diego Padres, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the contract hinges on a physical test that has not been completed.
Cruz, a right-handed hitter who turns 43 on July 1, is expected to alternate as the designated hitter with left-hander Matt Carpenter, 37, who last month signed a one-year deal with the Padres.
The Dominican is a seven-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, with 459 career home runs in 18 Major League seasons. Last year, he hit 10 home runs and drove in 64 runs in 124 games with Washington. He was sidelined until September 13 with an eye condition that required surgery in the offseason. Cruz received a $3 million buyout clause from the Nationals after the team declined a mutual option.
In the post-season he hit 18 home runs and played in consecutive World Series with the Texas Rangers. San Diego reached the NLCS the previous year, losing to Philadelphia.
With the Padres, Cruz would be reunited with his former teammates, fellow Dominicans Manny Machado and Juan Soto. Cruz was recognized for his veteran presence in the clubhouse and received the Roberto Clemente Award for his philanthropic involvement and involvement with the community while playing with Tampa Bay in 2021.
He will be the Dominican Republic’s general manager/player in the World Baseball Classic in the spring. Machado and Soto will also be part of the team.
Also on Wednesday, the Padres announced that Fernando Tatis Jr., who is serving a suspension, will be one of several players participating in the Feb. 4 FanFest at Petco Park. It will be his first public appearance since being suspended for 80 games on August 12 after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances. Tatis will be eligible to return to the majors on April 20.