San Diego Padres player scapegoat: DFA Nelson Cruz
The thinking was good by A.J. Preller, bringing in a right-handed veteran bat to add to the strong lineup. Unfortunately, it just has not worked out for Nelson Cruz and the Padres.
Primarily a DH against left-handers, Cruz has struggled to slash .250/.291/.417, but that's just over 45 games. He has five homers and 23 RBI, but San Diego would be better giving his at-bats to Gary Sanchez who has been a surprising good addition this season and found his offensive game.
Signed in late May, Sanchez has added a bit of jolt to the lineup with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 91 at-bats. His slash line is .198/.275/.451, but he also adds depth behind the plate to give Austin Nola some time off.
I understand the thinking of signing Cruz. He had good power to all fields when he was in his prime, but his numbers have slowly gone down after hitting 41 long balls with the Minnesota Twins in 2019. At 42 years old, it's not surprising to see his numbers go down, but half a season is enough for the Padres to cut ties and move on.
Aside from the New York Mets, the Padres are one of baseball's biggest disappointments in 2023. The loaded roster is slipping and slipping fast out of contention. At this point, making moves to shake things up might be their only chance at turning things around. That would mean using a couple of scapegoats to send a message to a locker room that is clearly frustrated.