Sox Insider

Report: Sox 'have shown no interest' in Nelson Cruz

Sox Insider

White Sox fans holding out hope the front office had another big splash in it this winter — particularly a Nelson Cruz kind of splash — might be out of luck.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted Wednesday night that the South Siders have "shown no interest" in the free-agent designated hitter, going as far to say the team hasn't even had any internal discussions about adding the 40-year-old All Star.

RELATED: How Sox stack up in offseason arms race with AL contenders

The White Sox have been active this winter, adding starting pitcher Lance Lynn in a trade and signing closer Liam Hendriks and outfielder Adam Eaton to free-agent contracts. But ahead of a season with World Series aspirations, some fans have seen an opportunity for the White Sox to add more, with many of those voices focusing on Cruz, who tormented White Sox pitchers the past two seasons as the driving force of the lineup for the division-rival Minnesota Twins.

Indeed, improving at designated hitter was one of the stated items on Rick Hahn's to-do list when the offseason began, but the general manager later clarified that such an improvement could come from within the organization. The White Sox have a legitimate candidate to take over DH duties in top ranked prospect Andrew Vaughn. Since selecting Vaughn with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft, the White Sox have raved about his advanced bat, though the fact that he hasn't played above A-ball raises valid questions about his readiness to contribute in an everyday capacity to a team chasing a championship.

 

In adding Lynn, Hendriks and Eaton — not to mention new manager Tony La Russa — the White Sox have prioritized dependability this winter. Leaning on Vaughn as the main solution at DH would contrast with such moves, though the South Siders have made it this far in their rebuilding process by developing young stars that now make up the bulk of their roster. Vaughn could be next.

Whether a complete lack of interest in Cruz, as reported by Nightengale, means the White Sox have decided not to pursue any DH solution outside the organization remains uncertain. Nightengale added in a follow-up tweet that the White Sox don't have much room left in their budget after signing Hendriks to a four-year deal worth $54 million.

Though Hahn nor anyone from the White Sox has commented on what the team's budget was for player additions this winter, different budgets than usual are something every team in baseball is dealing with in the wake of a 2020 season without fans in the stands.

Cruz struck as a tantalizing option not only because of the MVP-level production he put up in 2019 and 2020 with the division-winning Twins, but his addition to the White Sox lineup would be a gigantic subtraction from the Twins' lineup, aiding the White Sox in overtaking their rivals atop the Central standings.

As Nightengale added in his tweet, Cruz is expected to wind up re-signing with the Twins — though he's been said to be waiting to see whether the NL will have the DH next season, something still undetermined — meaning the White Sox might not reap either benefit of the aforementioned dream scenario.

Still, even as things stand right now, Cruz seems to be far more important to the Twins than to the White Sox. The White Sox already boast one of the best lineups in baseball and what could be the best collection of hitters in the American League.

Of course, that doesn't mean it wouldn't have been better with Cruz involved, but that apparently wasn't part of the White Sox offseason plan.

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