SEATTLE — No surprise here: Right fielder Nelson Cruz is the Mariners’ nominee for the Hank Aaron Award, which seeks to recognize the best offensive player in each league.
Cruz, 35, put together perhaps the finest season of his 11-year career in batting .302 with 44 homers and 93 RBIs. He signed a four-year deal with the Mariners last November as a free agent.
Other American League nominees include two previous recipients: Los Angeles outfielder Mike Trout (2014) and Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera (2013 and 2012).
Aaron will then head a Hall of Fame panel that will choose the two recipients. Their decision will be announced at the World Series.
No Mariner has ever won the award, which began in 1999 as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of Aaron becoming baseball’s all-time home run leader. Barry Bonds now holds that distinction.