Minnesota Twins’ Slugger, Nelson Cruz, Traded to Reigning American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays.
By: Andrew Santangelo (@aj_santangelo)
One of the best times of the year has just begun, with the trade deadline a week away as the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins made the first big headline trade. The Twins will be sending slugger Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays as the Rays look to make a move to the postseason.
The second-place Rays were struggling at the DH position ranked 13 out of the 15 American league teams. Tampa Bay currently trails the Red Sox by one game in the American League East. In contrast, the twins sit in the American League Central 17 games back of first. This Cruz trade could be only the beginning of moves for this Minnesota team as the likes of Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios continues to see their names in rumors.
The Minnesota Twins acquired two minor league players in Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman in the deal, which MLB.com now lists as the number six and 13 prospects in the Twins farm system, respectively.
This move makes sense for both teams; as the Twins continue to struggle this season after winning the division the previous season, they have fallen behind the White Sox by 17 games this season as we approach the end of July. Cruz, currently 41 years old amid his seventeenth season in the big leagues, is hitting .294 with 19 home runs, 50 RBI, and 44 runs scored on the year with a WAR of 2.1 These numbers helped Cruz reach his seventh all-star game in his 17-year career in the majors
Cruz can do wonders for the Rays team on and off the field, as he is valued across the league as a good teammate and could help the Rays locker room from an overall standpoint. Tampa Bay makes this trade in hopes of catching the Red Sox atop the division and getting back to the postseason after winning the American League a season ago. The Rays will also receive minor leaguer Calvin Faucher in the deal, a right-handed pitcher who is 11-7 with a 4.64 ERA with a 178SO in 159 innings pitcher through four years in the minors.
Ryan has a career record of 15-8 with a 2.70ERA through 217IP with 309 strikeouts through three seasons in the minors. He is a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher. Strotman is 12-8 with a 3.12ERA in 37 games started through four seasons and is a 24-year-old right-handed thrower.
The trade makes sense for both teams as Cruz on a one-year deal would not be on a struggling teams’ future plans while they acquire two young arms they could potentially use down the road. This move makes the most sense for the Rays as they try to return to the World Series.
This is only the beginning of the fun as we lead into the trade deadline on July 30th; continue to follow the news. There could be moves all over the league as the playoff races tighten down the stretch here in the back end of July, also leaving room to see if the Red Sox or Blue Jay try to counter chase after that same AL East.