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Rays Acquire Nelson Cruz – MLB Trade Rumors

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With simply over every week earlier than the commerce deadline, the Rays have made a giant transfer in buying slugger Nelson Cruz from the Twins.  As formally introduced by the Twins, Cruz and minor league righty Calvin Faucher will head to Tampa, whereas Minnesota will decide up proper-handers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman.  ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (Twitter hyperlink) was the primary to report that the Rays have been buying Cruz, whereas Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter hyperlinks) was the primary to report that it was a 4-participant deal additionally involving Strotman.

With the Twins within the midst of a nightmare season, Cruz grew to become a pure commerce chip, because the 41-yr-previous slugger is usually a free agent this winter.  Cruz re-signed with Minnesota final offseason on a one-yr, $13MM contract, and Cruz has roughly $4.87MM remaining in owed wage.

There was no announcement made of money issues being concerned, so it seems as if the Rays can be taking up all of Cruz’s remaining wage.  This is not any small matter for a Rays group that at all times has a watch on the price range, and even with Cruz now within the fold, the membership’s payroll continues to be below the $67MM threshold.  Tampa Bay can (and certain will) make different strikes earlier than the July 30 deadline that might transfer another {dollars} off the books, however because it stands, the Cruz deal is an indication that Rays possession is prepared to stretch a bit financially to bolster a group that appears like a contender to return to the World Series.

Despite Cruz’s age and seeming lack of defensive worth, his bat has remained so harmful that even some National League groups have been reportedly together with him in commerce issues, with a watch in the direction of deploying Cruz within the outfield for the primary time since 2018.  While the Rays’ penchant for roster maximization might result in Cruz getting at the very least a little bit of time within the outfield, it’s a really protected wager that he’ll slot in as Tampa’s new on a regular basis DH, bringing some large-time pop to a lineup that’s stable total however center-of-the-pack when it comes to energy.

Austin Meadows had acquired the majority of Tampa’s DH at-bats, although Meadows now seems to be to maneuver into the outfield combine with Randy Arozarena, Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Lowe, and (when he returns from the IL) Manuel Margot.  Lowe can be utilized at second base, and between some other accidents and even trades which may emerge, the Rays shouldn’t have a lot challenge to find sufficient taking part in time to maintain everybody contemporary and prepared for an additional postseason push.

Cruz will swimsuit up for the sixth completely different group over what has been a really spectacular 17-yr profession.  Named to his seventh All-Star group simply this season, Cruz is displaying no indicators of slowing down, hitting .294/.370/.537 with 19 homers over 346 plate appearances in 2021.  This manufacturing is definitely a dropoff from the .308/.394/.626 slash line he posted over 735 PA for Minnesota in 2019-20, however “decline phase” doesn’t actually look like an relevant description.

Neither Ryan and Strotman are within the higher crust of Tampa prospects, although MLB Pipeline did have them solidly ranked (Ryan tenth, Strotman seventeenth) on their checklist of the Rays’ finest minor league skills.  Both are beginning pitchers with stable performances at Triple-A this season, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see their make their Major League debuts earlier than 2021 is completed.  Since the Twins need to return to competition subsequent yr, touchdown two large league-prepared arms will assist their pitching depth, contemplating Michael Pineda and J.A. Happ are each free brokers this winter (and both may very well be moved earlier than July 30.

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