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The universal DH may allow Nelson Cruz to make his triumphant return to the National League.
After initially playing with the 2005 Milwaukee Brewers, 41-year-old designated hitter Nelson Cruz could potentially return to the National League in his MLB free agency.
Since joining the Texas Rangers in 2006, Cruz has spent nearly all of his professional career in the Junior Circuit. The seven-time AL All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger recipient is pretty much year-to-year at this point of his career. Should he play well into his 40s, he has a decent shot of surpassing the 500-home run threshold. Having 15 more teams possibly in play for him is huge.
If Cruz were to leave the AL in his free agency, what NL teams could be interested in signing him?
Nelson Cruz: 3 NL teams that make sense for the veteran designated hitter
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres could become Slam Diego again by adding Nelson Cruz
After breaking through during the shortened 2020 MLB season, the San Diego Padres regressed last year. They failed to reach the NL postseason and parted ways with their former manager. Though Petco Park has historically played in the favor of the pitchers, adding a professional hitter like Cruz could help amplify a Padres offense that is both streaky, yet utterly captivating at times.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signing Nelson Cruz would be a way to offset potentially losing Albert Pujols
The Los Angeles Dodgers are clearly looking for a bat after missing out on Corey Seager in his free agency. While they got somewhat of a boost with Albert Pujols a season ago, Cruz has a defined role as a designated hitter at this point of his career. For the Boys in Blue, it is all about winning and contending for World Series titles. Adding a veteran power bat in Cruz could go a long way.
The Milwaukee Brewers need an offensive boost to amplify the pitching staff
It may be a homecoming of sorts for Cruz, but the Milwaukee Brewers are the best fit for him. The NL Central champions were exposed in the NLDS for being too reliant on their pitching staff to win games. They did not have the offensive firepower to keep pace with the Atlanta Braves. If Milwaukee wants to be a factor in the NL this year, they need to add a piece or two to the offense.
Look for NL teams like the Brewers, Dodgers and Padres to be in on Cruz in his MLB free agency.