Free-agent slugger Nelson Cruz and the Washington Nationals have reached agreement on a one-year, $15 million deal, a source told ESPN’s Enrique Rojas, confirming multiple reports.
The contract includes a mutual option for 2023; Cruz will earn $12 million in 2022 and will receive an additional $3 million if the club does not exercise the option.
The 41-year-old Cruz has 449 career home runs and becomes the first designated hitter to join a National League team since MLB’s new labor deal included a universal DH.
Cruz is returning for an 18th major league season. He hit .265 with 32 home runs and 86 RBIs with the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, becoming the oldest player in major league history (41) to hit 30 home runs in a season. He passed David Ortiz (38 in 2016) and Darrell Evans (34 in 1987), who were both 40 when they hit the mark.
It was Cruz’s eighth 30-homer season.
A seven-time All-Star, he’s a career .277 hitter with 1,238 RBIs for the Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Twins and Rays. He also has plenty of playoff experience with 18 homers, 38 RBIs and a .979 OPS in 50 postseason games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.