Former Mariners All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz retiring from MLB

Nov 2, 2023, 10:30 AM

Seattle Mariners Nelson Cruz...

Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners hits a two-run home run on Aug. 2, 2018. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Arguably the best free-agent signing in Seattle Mariners history is calling it a career.

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Longtime MLB outfielder and designated hitter Nelson Cruz told The Adam Jones Podcast that he’s giving fans in his native Dominican Republic “one more time” to see him play this winter in LIDOM.

When Jones, who was Cruz’s teammate with Baltimore and is a former Mariners top prospect, asked Cruz if this was the “last we’re seeing of Nelson Cruz,” Cruz replied, “I think so, yeah.” You can watch that snippet from their conversation below.

Cruz, 43, had a phenomenal 19-year MLB career, with most of his best years coming with Texas and Seattle.

The Mariners signed Cruz to a four-year deal ahead of the 2015 season, and while the Mariners didn’t make the playoffs during that span, it was hardly the fault of the “Boomstick.”

During that run, Cruz slashed .284/.362/.546 (.908 OPS) with 163 home runs and 414 RBIs in 606 games. That’s an average of 41 home runs and 104 RBIs per season, and 44 homers and 111 RBIs every 162 games.

Cruz made three All-Star teams during his Seattle tenure while winning two Silver Sluggers. He finished top 15 in American League MVP voting three times with the M’s, with a No. 6 finish in 2015, his first year in Seattle.

Another way to show just how good Cruz was in a Mariners uniform? During his “worst” year in Seattle, he had an .850 OPS with 37 home runs and 97 RBIs.

After 2018, the Mariners began their rebuild and let Cruz walk in free agency. He then spent two-plus years in Minnesota, half a season in Tampa Bay, the 2022 campaign with Washington, and about half of 2023 in San Diego before being designated for assignment. Cruz didn’t sign with another team and has been a free agent since July.

If this is indeed the end of Cruz’s time in MLB, he would finish his career with a .274/.343/.513 slash line, .856 OPS, 464 home runs and 1,325 RBIs. He is a seven-time All-Star and had five top-10 MVP finishes.

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