Why is Nelson Cruz not ready to retire?

From the start, the numbers have ebbed and the aches piled up, which makes it fair to question whether Nelson Cruz has finally hit his limit. Lack of energy and production is equally suggestive. He turned 42 in July. In nearly one season with the Washington team, he lost time with a tight back, shoulder pain and a bruised knee, among other minor injuries, and he currently has an infection in his left eye that can lead to blurry vision when trying to get injured.

The base percentage plus deceleration, 0.651, is the lowest since his first extended chance with the Texas Rangers in 2006. Cruz is, in short, a shell from the player Washington thought she had signed. A one-year deal worth $15 million in Marchwhen it seemed possible – no, probably – that it Can be flipped to the odds on the trade deadline.

Many signs point to retirement after 18 seasons. But Cruz isn’t ready to leave.

“If I don’t feel like I’m having fun, I’ll leave, you know?” Cruz said last week from his wardrobe in Nationals Park. On Monday, Cruz was not in the lineup before the Nationals and New York Mets championships were postponed due to persistent storms. The game will be part of a double header starting at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday at Citi Field.

“Everyone is here for different reasons,” Cruz continued. “I play to win, to get to the championship, to win the world championship. That’s the ultimate goal we share. But it’s not just my profession. It’s for everyone around me too. A lot of people depend on whether I play and how I play.”

Cruz repeats that all of this — his career, his stats, and his decision to stop or continue — is “bigger than baseball.” When asked about instilling this perspective in the younger players, he broke into a big smile.

The story is from November. Shortstop Wander Franco was about to sign for An 11-year contract worth $182 million With Tampa Bay Rays. But before he agreed, he called Cruz, with whom he played for only two and a half months at the end of the previous season.

Cruz remembers saying Franco on the phone: “Hi Dad.” “What do you think I should do?”

After explaining the importance of financial security, Cruz delivered his true message. He and Franco are from the Dominican Republic. Cruz told him that if Franco took over the deal, not only would the apprentice and his immediate family be involved. There will be teams on the field that need equipment. There will be a community to be raised, and his children watch most of Franco’s bats.

Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Cruz’s hometown, looks very different than when he debuted with the Rangers. There are hospitals. There is a fire department there are ambulances and more paved roads for them to drive on. Cruz plans to open a computer center to help plumbers and carpenters start their own businesses. He will juggle this project with work as the General Manager of the Dominican Republic for the classic world baseball game.

“A lot of people have benefited,” Cruz said of his work in the Dominican Republic. “And I think, once I stop playing, that will change drastically. I won’t be able to help like I used to. So there are different reasons I keep pushing. But the most important, I think, is just for the love of the game. When You love something that much, it doesn’t close that easily.”

If Cruz missed the last three Nationals games, he would have scored 10 Homers And a better team 64 RBI in season. Manager Dave Martinez felt Cruz’s timing was often off, which made it difficult to ramp up the connection and catch up at high speed. for him Average firing angle 7.2° It was its lowest since Statcast began tracking it in 2015. He has hit seven fastballers on fastballs after slapping 21 last year. He also inhaled 41.5 percent of the broken pitches he swung.

Cruz doesn’t know what kind of market to wait in a free dealership this off season. He is optimistic but keeps his expectations in check. Washington has spent a lot on him protecting Juan Soto, swaying an inexperienced club and likely landing a prospect or two in early August. So it looks like Cruz’s best chance at another major league bargain is to deal with a club in a similar situation – one that wants a seasoned player and has players at bat to offer in the designated hitter.

“He has the ability to go in for help and DH and put up some numbers again,” Martinez said. “But that is entirely up to him.”

Washington is nowhere near a post-season picture, but the Mets are on the cusp of hitting a series of wild cards rather than winning the Eastern National League. The Atlanta Braves’ magic number for a Division I title after losing 4-0 to the Miami Marlins on Monday night remained to keep New York alive. The Mets can still handle the division with a miraculous swing of luck: they have to sweep Washington while the Marlins sweep Atlanta.

Corey Abbott is scheduled to start the first match on Tuesday with the national team before Paulo Espino scores the second match. The Mets are expected to use Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker, but they did not announce an order on Monday night.

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