SANTO Domingo ( Associated Press) — Nelson Cruz, currently active as a designated hitter for the Washington Nationals, will take over as Dominican Republic general manager at the World Baseball Classic next year.
Cruz replaced Moises Alou, who was in charge of the team in the most recent editions of 2013 – the year he won the crown for the first time – and 2017.
The Dominican Baseball Federation administered the Major Leagues and Players Association – an authorization from the tournament’s organizers – to be able to designate the 42-year veteran as manager of the team in addition to the national.
The seven-time All-Star signed a one-year, $15 million free agent deal with Washington in March. The agreement included a mutual option of 16 million and a compensation of 30 million for 2023.
Cruz is in his 18th season in the majors and has a total of 457 home runs in his career. He is hitting .242 with 8 homers and 48 RBI, and his name sounds like he will be moved before the trading deadline of August 2.
“There are better players than me and they deserve to play, but if the team needs me, I’ll be there,” Cruz said in response to a question.
Cruise traveled to the Dominican during the All-Star break that was offered.
“There’s no better scout than me, I face pitchers and I can see the hitters,” said Cruz, who was part of the undefeated team in 2013.
The Dominicans could not reach the deciding stage in 2017 won by the United States.
But they will try to return to the charge with the figures of their constellations. A total of 14 Dominicans were selected for the All-Star Game, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Rafael Devers and Manny Machado, while Jose Ramírez and Starling Marte remained as reserves. Juan Soto and Julio Rodriguez advanced to the final round of the home run derby. They also have Sandy Alcantara and Luis Castillo as well as relievers Gregory Soto and Emmanuel Claes.
Rodriguez was part of the team that won an Olympic bronze medal at the Tokyo Games last year.
The team’s manager and coaches will be named later. El Clasico will be played from March 8 to 21.
“We have a lot of material and talent to be able to choose a leader, it should be someone who can unite the group and understand their role in the team,” Cruz said.
The Dominicans were in Group D of the first round and will face Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Israel and a team that will be out of the qualifying tournaments to be played in September and October this year.
The fifth edition of the Clasico was supposed to be held in 2021, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.