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Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to the Rays for Two AAA Starting Pitchers

Nelson Cruz is about to be a Tampa Bay Ray. One of the finest DHs in Twins history is Piece #1 of what could be several Twins trades before the July 30th deadline. 

Just minutes ago, several national baseball writers, including Jeff Passan announced that the Twins and Rays have reached a deal for the reigning AL champions from Tampa to add slugging DH Nelson Cruz. 

According to Bob Nightengale, the deal will involve four players including pitcher Drew Strotman. 

The Twins have made it official, noting the Wichita right-handed reliever Calvin Faucher will also be going to the Rays. In return, the Twins will get pitchers Strotman and Joe Ryan.  

The Players 

Drew Stotman is a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher. He has spent 2021 with the Rays Triple-A affiliate in Durham, NC. He is 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. In 58 1/3 innings, he has given up 50 hits, walked and struck out 62 batters. He was the Rays fourth round pick in 2017 out of St. Mary's in California.

Joe Ryan is a 25-year old right-hander. He has spent the season with Triple-A Durham as well. He is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP. In 57 innings, he has given up 35 hits, walked just ten and struck out 75 batters. He was the team's 7th round pick in 2018 out of Cal State-Stanislaus. 

The two have combined to make 23 starts for Durham and worked twice out of the bullpen. Ryan ranks as the Rays #10 prospect while Stotman ranked #17. 

Calvin Faucher was the Twins 10th round pick in 2017 out of UC-Irvine. In 30 2/3 innings with Double-A Wichita, he posted a 7.04 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP. He is a good athlete on the mound. 

But let's be honest, we're here, right now, to learn about the prospects coming to the Twins from the Rays organization, and to thank Nelson Cruz for two-and-a-half terrific seasons. 

Nelson Cruz won the AL Silver Slugger for DH his first two years with the team. He finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting both years as well. In 2021, at 41, he is again having a terrific season and represented the Twins at the All-Star game last week. 

In his time with the Twins, Cruz played in 258 games. He hit .304/.386/.598 (.984) with 435 doubles, 76 home runs and 191 RBI. He was clearly the leader in the clubhouse. He has won humanitarian award for his community service in the cities he has played in as well as his home in the Dominican Republic. 

The Rays head into Thursday games with a 57-39 record, one game back of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They are the current leader in the race for an AL Wild Card spot. They have a need at DH. The Rays need a right-handed power bat. 

Please feel free to share your thoughts on Nelson Cruz's time with the Twins, today's trade to the Rays, the two pitchers they received in return.


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Hope they have had discussions with Cruz's agent to bring him back here next year.....

Hope one of the minor league experts will give us good info on the two hurlers we picked up.  We certainly need help on the mound, but now have a gigantic hole in our offense unless he comes back next year.

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As someone who feared Cruz was at the end when signed by the Twins, what a ride.  Fantastic stay at Target Field by a better person.

But these two pitchers appear to be a bigger return than any of us could have hoped for.  And they both are very good starting pitchers.  Hooorah!

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Drew Strotman is on the 40-man already, in his first option year. His run prevention has been solid at AAA but his K/BB rates aren't great -- looks like he's mainly been preventing HR.

Joe Ryan could probably slot into the Twins rotation right now based on his AAA stats -- very strong K/BB rates. He's not on the 40-man but he is Rule 5 eligible this winter so he should get added shortly.

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Wth....It was so fun the past years watching the Bomba Squad and now my 2nd fav is gone. I am beyond words for the "great" trades the front office makes....Do they realize they have fans? Im sure most are now here to see Ohtani this series. Beer please.......oh, I forgot it's now the Curse of Rosario and Nelly....







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Wow - interested to learn more about these 2 right handers. Are they Bailey Ober clones? Even if they are, I think it's a good deal. Lightening might strike and one of those guys could prove to be a useful starter on this team. I'd like to see them in Minneapolis in short order.

At first glance I like the trade. Twins needed arms, they got some. Let 'em rip.

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16 minutes ago, Brandon said:

I hate this time of season.  I liked having Cruz on the team. I guess Rooker is getting the call up.

Probably too late to activate anyone for tonight (the Saints are about to play in Omaha).

Cave is on the 10th day of his rehab assignment though, so he'd be my guess to take Cruz's spot in Minnesota tomorrow over Rooker. (Position player rehab assignments can last for up to 20 days, but I haven't heard anything to suggest Cave will need the full 20 days, he seems to be hitting pretty well and playing CF.)

They could activate Cave and demote Celestino, of course, separate from Rooker replacing Cruz.

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Cruz? I loved watching him play baseball, whether the odd stolen base or a sacrifice fly when that was what was needed. Of course, Nelson was a real good hitter for the Twins too and I hope the Twins consider signing him as a free agent this winter. 

Hopefully, the two players coming to the Twins can be effective pitchers.

Losing Cruz hurts the entertainment angle and the competitiveness of the Twins; its been a real downer of a year to be a fan.

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I hate to see Cruz go, but I am intrigued by these two young pitchers.  I will be interested to see where MLB will have them ranked in the Twins organization.  Never can have to many pitching prospects.  The more pitching ypu can develop the less you need to sign a Happ, Shoemaker,  or any of the other dozens of terrible starting pitchers Terry Ryan or Falvey have signed over the years.  

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17 minutes ago, KirbyHawk75 said:

I hate to see Cruz go, but I am intrigued by these two young pitchers.  I will be interested to see where MLB will have them ranked in the Twins organization.  Never can have to many pitching prospects.

Fangraphs gives both new pitchers a 45 FV (Future Value) score. That would put them ahead of every Twins minor league pitcher right now except Balazovic, Duran, and Canterino.

Edit: actually Winder has a 45 FV too in their midseason update:


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