The Chicago White Sox are a team that has been destroyed by Nelson Cruz's greatness in the past. Outside of Aaron Rodgers, few athletes have had their way with a Chicago team more than Nelson Cruz with the White Sox. He did most of his damage as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
In his career, he has played against the White Sox 109 times. In those 109 games, he has a slash line of .367/.326/.510 for an OPS of .836. He also has 108 hits with 25 home runs and 28 doubles to go with 72 RBIs. A lot of his great moments against them came in clutch moments which made it even worse.
Luckily for the White Sox, he didn't play for the Minnesota Twins in 2022 so they didn't have to play him. It was a tough year for the Sox in every way but not getting bullied by Nelson Cruz was actually kind of nice. Now, we know he won't be bothering them much in 2023 either.
Every team plays every team going forward so they will see him again but it won't be like seeing a division rival as he signed with the San Diego Padres. He is getting a million dollars to play with them for a year. It is a good deal for both him and the Padres who can use another power bat.
Nelson Cruz is headed to the San Diego Padres for the 2023 season.
There is a connection here as San Diego GM AJ Preller was with Nelson Cruz going back to their Texas Rangers day. Because of this, according to Jon Heyman, Cruz took less money to go play there which makes sense. They are also a contender which makes things easier.
Why is it always the Padres? Well, in this instance, it is better than him coming to a division rival. It will be interesting to see how he fits in that lineup that should give him so much help in terms of production. He will likely see time as the designated hitter.
As mentioned already, this is great news for the White Sox. They still have to play him but he can't destroy them as a member of the division anymore.