Sanspo is reporting that the Hanshin Tigers are planning to aggressively pursue Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz this offseason, to replace the disappointing Lew Ford. NPB interest in Cruz has been rumored before, and I actually thought this might have been the guy that SoftBank was really after when I was writing about Barry Bonds last summer.
This seems like a great move if Hanshin can pull it off. Cruz has always been solid at AAA but failed to impress in his one extended shot at the big leagues. He raked last year, to the tune of .342/.429/.695 in AAA and .330/.421/.609 with the Rangers. I thought there might be a place for him in the Texas outfield next season, so we'll have to see what develops.