Nelson Cruz is looking to make his mark as the general manager of the Dominican National Team in the World Baseball Classic. If nothing else, he likely made baseball history in his role.
The Dominican squad had an exhibition match against the Braves on Wednesday, with Nelson Cruz hitting a home run in the contest. As Juan Toribio of MLB.com noted, Cruz may have become the first active GM to home in a game.
World Baseball Classic could be springboard for Nelson Cruz
Father Time is coming for Cruz. He will turn 43 years old this season and is staring down his final days as a player. He struggled with the Nationals last season, posting a disappointing .234/.313/.337 batting line with ten homers and 16 doubles in his 507 plate appearances. His 90 OPS+ was his worst mark since 2006, his last season before becoming a major league regular.
The Padres still took a chance on Cruz despite those issues. He had signed a $1 million deal for the 2023 season, serving as another veteran presence on a team with championship aspirations. If Cruz continues to struggle, and shows that he does not have anything left, it will be easy for San Diego to walk away.
That makes his performance in the WBC all the more important. A strong showing, especially in the later rounds, could be the springboard he needs for the start of the regular season. Cruz is looking to go out on his terms, ideally with a championship in hand. And he could get one in his debut as a GM as well.
Nelson Cruz homered for the Dominican National Team against the Braves on Wednesday. He may be the first active GM to do so in a game.