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Ditch Rocco, promote Nelson to player-coach

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Yep, sounds like a good plan to me.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

He’s just a couple of months younger than Albert Pujols, and they both are at the top of the list when it comes to current MLB free agents. The age list. That doesn’t stop me from wanting Nelson Cruz on the Twins 2022 roster.

I have laid out his numbers before, and there is no doubt he is one of the best power hitters in the past decade. His 32 homers in 2022 was on the low side for him. That season was split between Minnesota and Tampa.

He will turn 42 in July.

He had a bit of a glitch around 2013 - no comment - but here are his home run totals every year since: 40, 44, 43, 39, 37, 41, 16* and 32. Not too shabby. Come back to Minnesota.

Is it what the Twins need? Sure, anything. Is it what Nelson needs? Maybe. His numbers were good in Minnesota, and I think he genuinely liked it in Minneapolis. We cannot forget his amazing contribution to the 2019 bomba squad, and I would say if he wanted it, any Twins fan would be happy to see him as Minnesota’s DH in 2022, even at the age of 42.

But why limit him? How about the Twins get rid of the manager who doesn’t know how to score a free runner in extra innings and hire Nelson Cruz as a player-manager. I for one think this is a fantastic idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Rocco to some degree. Yes, he is a former AL Manager of the Year, and I really do not like to be negative and give criticism, but we need more from the Minnesota Twins. There are some major gripes I have with Baldelli.

Nelson Cruz needs a ring. Why not get it in Minnesota? Don’t laugh please.

The last player-manager in the MLB was Pete Rose in the 80s. He did so for the Cincinnati Reds as he was trying to overtake Ty Cobb as the all-time hits leader in which he succeeded.

Why would Cruz be a good coach? Because he is a leader in the clubhouse. He already was, not that age matters but he does have 451 days on Baldelli. He knows how to succeed as a player - of active players, Cruz ranks third in home runs with 449 only behind Miggy and Albert. Cruz gives back. He is your 2021 Roberto Clemente Award winner, given to someone who shows great character, community involvement and philanthropy. Cruz also is a hype guy, not afraid of old-school play and someone who knows how to put the ball in play, not with just homers.

His career statline: .277/.346/.527

His statlines in MIN:

2019: .311/.392/.639

2020: .303/.397/.595

2021: .294/.370/.537

I think it’s just meant to be in Minnesota. He’s clearly getting better with age. While there is a very small chance he signs with the Twins, I think he really needs to consider how well he performed in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. No need to go to the NL to be a DH (if that happens) Nelson can bat every game in Minnesota.

The Twins got right-handers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman in the Nelson trade. Getting Cruz back and keeping these two, what a deal it would be.

After what I saw from the Minnesota Twins in 2021, I think a managerial change is needed. To not perform with that squad was devastating. Starting pitchers rarely seeing late innings, key bullpen players blowing game after game but still getting the opportunity, no consistent batting lineup and poor strategy to win extra-inning games were some detrimental issues last season. We need leaders who make better decisions.

I vote Nelson Cruz for Twins Player-Manager 2022. I will settle for just player.