Nelson Cruz is the newest member of the Tampa Bay Rays. This offseason Tampa was among the final suitors in contention to land his services.
Minnesota ended up bring back the 40-year-old and he’s picked up right where he left off. Unfortunately for the Twins, their season has gone as anything but expected, and they find themselves as a clear seller. The best designated hitter in the American League stays in that role and gives Tampa another thumper in the middle of their lineup.
Given Cruz’s advanced age and contract status, it was hard to fathom much of a return. Minnesota instead included Calvin Faucher as a throw in prospect and landed Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, Tampa’s 10th and 17th best prospects per MLB pipeline. Both may be relievers, and are already past their 24th birthdays, but they have high velocity stuff and already are at Triple-A.
For an organization needing arm talent as both starters and in the bullpen, this is a real solid get for a guy that wasn’t going to be around in a couple of months. Ryan will need to be added to the 40 man this winter, with Strotman already holding down a spot. Cruz leaves as a fan favorite, one of the most productive players in history, and having done so as a leading member of a record setting homer club.
Here’s some instant analysis from industry experts:
Edited by Ted Schwerzler