With the addition of the DH to the National League, the Brewers will need to figure out how they are going to fill that position this upcoming season. While they could use internal options to fill it, the team is in need of some additional offense after a 2021 season where they were regularly looking for someone to step up and score runs. A potential option there is Nelson Cruz, and the Brewers are one of eight teams that are showing interest in him, per Enrique Rojas of ESPN. In addition, Jon Heyman notes that all five NL Central teams are interested in Cruz.
Nelson Cruz originally debuted with the Brewers on September 17, 2005. He played in eight games that season, mostly as a late game defensive replacement, and went 1-for-5 with two walks. That was the extent of his Brewers career, as he was traded in July 2006 to the Rangers in the trade that brought Carlos Lee to Milwaukee. From there, Cruz has gone on to put together an incredibly strong career, with seven All-Star appearances, four Silver Slugger awards, and six top-15 finishes in the MVP vote.
If the Brewers brought Cruz in, he would most likely be an exclusive DH for the team. Since 2017, he has almost exclusively played as a DH, with just 10 appearances over 61.1 innings in the field. In fact, in the past three seasons, he has played in the field just one time: a lone appearance at first base last season. However, Cruz has been very reliable as a starter. In the past 10 seasons, he’s played in at least 100 games every season except 2020, and even in that season he played in 53 of the 60 games. His number did dip a bit in 2021, but were still good: .265/.334/.497 batting line in 2021 with 32 home runs and 86 RBI.
While the positional flexibility that David Stearns likes to have isn’t there with Cruz, he does bring a bat to the lineup that the Brewers do need. He is entering his age 42 season, but still looks strong at the plate. The Brewers do have to fill the DH position this upcoming season, and Cruz could be a good fit to take that role.