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Can the Twins (realistically) make a trade for Nelson Cruz?


In my opinion, Nelson Cruz had the best years of his career in a Twins jersey. His on field results combined with his clubhouse leadership quickly made him a fan favorite. I have seen some people calling for the Twins to trade for him, so I want to get everyone’s opinions. Would a trade realistically be possible? With the Nationals this year, Cruz started slow but has started to produce more lately, and I’m positive he would produce even more back in Target Field. The only issue is getting ABs for him, or taking ABs away from others. Buxton has gotten a big chunk of the DH ABs so far this year, but the Twins could try to push him more in CF as the year goes on. Sanchez has also gotten DH ABs while Jeffers is catching and has for the most part produced. There’s no doubt we’d all love to see Nelly back in the Twin Cities, but would it make sense?

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I thought the same thing, it'd be nice have Cruz's steady bat in the line up when we run into a rough patch and his leadership. But we have a log jam at DH. Sanchez, Arraez, Buxton and even CC. I don't know if we can fit him in even though he does so well here.

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If the Twins called the Nationals willing to take on the rest of Cruz's 2022 salary and his 2023 buyout, they'd probably accept without even hearing what the Twins would offer as player compensation.

I mean, I think the team can do better, but if getting Cruz bumps Sanchez to the #1 catcher role and Jeffers to backup, there'd be some benefit to that from my perspective.

With Larnach out, there's also less offensive mouths to feed as well.

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If Cruz can thrive in a part-time role it's worth exploring.

DH has room to improve but I also think Cruz is a shell of what he was 2 years ago.

And, given the Twins' lack of position player depth on the bench, the real question would be how much is a PH/DH worth if it means one less fielder or reliever.

I'd see more of a fit under the old "waiver wire" rules where he'd join the team closer to roster expansion.

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They could, but it would hurt the team elsewhere. As has been written here on TD, the Twins make too many defensive miscues, and Cruz does not fix that. Even if Larnach is done for the year, Sano is DFA'd and one of Urshela/Sanchez/Garlick/Gordon is traded, there still is no room for a bat only player on this team simply because of how much Baldelli likes moving players around the diamond and the lingering issues with Buxton's health. 

A waiver wire transaction could be possible, but I also see a fringe playoff team with a worse record claiming him for the final push.

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I don't see the downside to this sort of move -- I'm highly doubtful we would need to give up any prospects of any value because I'm sure WSH would like to get his contracts off their books in a noncompetitive season and there likely aren't many suitors for a soon-to-be 42 year old DH. 

By no means would Cruz need to be an everyday player, and how nice would it be to have his bat coming off the bench to pinch hit against these flame-throwing relievers every team seems to have. And while it seems like the Twins have a position-player/DH logjam, a trade of Cruz would certainly lengthen the lineup.

Imagine a playoff lineup of

1. Arraez (1B)

2. Buxton (CF)

3. Correa (SS)

4. Polanco (2B)

5.Kepler (RF)

6. Cruz (DH)

7. Kiriloff (LF)

8. Sanchez (C)

9. Urshela (3B)

That could rival any lineup in the league. 

Cruz can essentially replace what Garlick is doing and do more ( though I think Garlick is a really useful piece as a lefty-masher, Cruz could likely do just as well and offer more upside against righties). This move would also stop Rocco from penciling both catchers into the lineup 3-4 times every week -- a move that still baffles me considering Sanchez is hitting just slightly above average and Jeffers is hitting below average. Cruz can DH 3 days per week, especially against lefties (who Arraez really struggles against), Buxton can DH 2 days per week, with Arraez and Sanchez splitting the rest of the DH ABs. This would allow Arraez to roam around, play 1B 3 times per week, 2B once a week, and (maybe) play some 3B. Kiriloff can then roam LF and take some of Gordon's ABs. 

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Honestly I think Nelson Cruz's success in Minnesota had more to do with a down (many teams rebuilding) central division than anything else.  Once he was moved to Tampa and faced stiffer competition he wasn't the same player. It appears to be the same in Washington.  He also went silent in the playoffs as well.  I like Nelson as a player and even more as a great human being but IMO I think we are better off sticking with what we have.

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20 minutes ago, Dman said:

Honestly I think Nelson Cruz's success in Minnesota had more to do with a down (many teams rebuilding) central division than anything else.  Once he was moved to Tampa and faced stiffer competition he wasn't the same player. It appears to be the same in Washington.  He also went silent in the playoffs as well.  I like Nelson as a player and even more as a great human being but IMO I think we are better off sticking with what we have.

You seem like a lot of fun my man

4 Homers with a .258 / .343 / .452 (.795 OPS) slash over last 25 games.

.313 / .389 / .563 (.951 ops) vs LHP over that duration as well.

Any team could use a bench bat like that.

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1 hour ago, Dman said:

Jose Miranda for the Month of June .313 / .353 / .531 (.884 OPS) got it covered.

I love the concept of relying on a rookie for a playoff push vs a proven hitter with a 10 year track record.

Miranda has DH 4 times this year too so has pretty much nothing to do with Miranda.

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1 hour ago, GKuehl said:

I don't see the downside to this sort of move -- I'm highly doubtful we would need to give up any prospects of any value because I'm sure WSH would like to get his contracts off their books in a noncompetitive season and there likely aren't many suitors for a soon-to-be 42 year old DH. 

By no means would Cruz need to be an everyday player, and how nice would it be to have his bat coming off the bench to pinch hit against these flame-throwing relievers every team seems to have. And while it seems like the Twins have a position-player/DH logjam, a trade of Cruz would certainly lengthen the lineup.

Imagine a playoff lineup of

1. Arraez (1B)

2. Buxton (CF)

3. Correa (SS)

4. Polanco (2B)

5.Kepler (RF)

6. Cruz (DH)

7. Kiriloff (LF)

8. Sanchez (C)

9. Urshela (3B)

That could rival any lineup in the league. 

Cruz can essentially replace what Garlick is doing and do more ( though I think Garlick is a really useful piece as a lefty-masher, Cruz could likely do just as well and offer more upside against righties). This move would also stop Rocco from penciling both catchers into the lineup 3-4 times every week -- a move that still baffles me considering Sanchez is hitting just slightly above average and Jeffers is hitting below average. Cruz can DH 3 days per week, especially against lefties (who Arraez really struggles against), Buxton can DH 2 days per week, with Arraez and Sanchez splitting the rest of the DH ABs. This would allow Arraez to roam around, play 1B 3 times per week, 2B once a week, and (maybe) play some 3B. Kiriloff can then roam LF and take some of Gordon's ABs. 

This should be the lineup. I never want to see Jeffers DHing again.

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1 hour ago, Tim said:

I love the concept of relying on a rookie for a playoff push vs a proven hitter with a 10 year track record.

He didn't help the Twins win 1 playoff game in 2019 or 2020 and he didn't help the Rays in the playoffs much either.  So yeah I will take a rookie with really good bat to ball skills in that spot.  He can't do much worse than that. Heck I would even take Garlick in that spot especially against lefties.  I like Cruz but the way this team is constructed he doesn't fit well IMO.

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1 hour ago, Tim said:

You seem like a lot of fun my man

4 Homers with a .258 / .343 / .452 (.795 OPS) slash over last 25 games.

.313 / .389 / .563 (.951 ops) vs LHP over that duration as well.

Any team could use a bench bat like that.

Yep, very simple. By replacing Jeffer’s ABs in the lineup as much as possible with Cruz’s, the Twins would be gaining a lot of offense, which is erratic as many have observed.

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1 hour ago, big dog said:

How many playoff games did we win with Nelson's leadership? Even the bathrobes didn't work.

Ya baseball isnt golf or tennis ..  there are 25 other players on an active roster.

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2 hours ago, Tim said:

 

Miranda has DH 4 times this year too so has pretty much nothing to do with Miranda.

Right now Ushela is the primary 3rd baseman so he can't play there.  Polanco is back and he and Arraez will cover 2nd base.  Arraez and Kirilloff are covering 1st base.  Where exactly are they going to play him?  Sure they can mix and match some but he looks like the odd man out right now and a good bat for the DH spot.  Probably split it more with Garlick and Buxton to some degree.  When facing righties they probably go with one of Kirilloff and Arraez for 1st base and DH.  It just points out all the more that they don't really need a bat only player right now.  Especially a righty bat only player.

If Cruz was going to replace someone it would probably be Garlick but again why? Garlick costs far less and as of today his production so far this season is better than Cruz.  Cruz is great in the club house but from what I understand the Twins already have the best club house ever and great leadership from Buxton and Correa.  They don't really need Cruz for that either.

Again I like Nelson Cruz. I think very, very highly of him.  It is nothing personal at all but I don't think he raises the bar on the team we have right now.  For a bat only player he needs that OPS in the high 800 to low 900 area to move the needle for me.  He isn't there.  Unless that changes I would just pass.

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Here's a fun game!

Player A--.244/.325/.382/.707, 99 wRC+ and 0.2 WAR.

Player B--.258/.301/.387/.688, 96 wRC+ and 0.2 WAR.

Which player should the Twins make a push to acquire as the big bat to drive them to the playoffs?

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7 hours ago, RedneckRay said:

In my opinion, Nelson Cruz had the best years of his career in a Twins jersey. His on field results combined with his clubhouse leadership quickly made him a fan favorite. I have seen some people calling for the Twins to trade for him, so I want to get everyone’s opinions. Would a trade realistically be possible? With the Nationals this year, Cruz started slow but has started to produce more lately, and I’m positive he would produce even more back in Target Field. The only issue is getting ABs for him, or taking ABs away from others. Buxton has gotten a big chunk of the DH ABs so far this year, but the Twins could try to push him more in CF as the year goes on. Sanchez has also gotten DH ABs while Jeffers is catching and has for the most part produced. There’s no doubt we’d all love to see Nelly back in the Twin Cities, but would it make sense?

the guy is slugging .385. NO.

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1 hour ago, RpR said:

Slugging .385 with 44 rbi, while Arraez is sluggging .440 with 27 rbi, analytics are greatly over rated.

Cruz has had 34 more at bats with runners on and 23 more with runners in scoring position. Of course he's going to have more RBI's, he's had more opportunities. Cruz's OPW with runners on,.817, Arraez .984.  Cruz with runners in scoring position, .878, Arraez, 1.037.

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3 hours ago, RpR said:

Slugging .385 with 44 rbi, while Arraez is sluggging .440 with 27 rbi, analytics are greatly over rated.

Easier to knock in runs when people are on base. Arraez is batting .406 with a .984 OPS with runners on and .413 with a 1.037 OPS with RISP.

RBI is a completely, totally, utterly useless stat for evaluating individual player performance.

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Cruz is looking awfully like time has caught up to him as he's a month away from age 42. He's posting his worst numbers against fastballs in any full season in his career, he's hitting more ground balls, generating less hard contact and swinging at more pitches out of the zone. In addition, his average and maximum exit velocity is the lowest Statcast has ever recorded, though the max exit velocity is still elite.

Aside from that, the Twins have plenty of bat only guys which is a big reason the Twins didn't re-sign Cruz as a free agent.

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2 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Cruz is looking awfully like time has caught up to him as he's a month away from age 42. He's posting his worst numbers against fastballs in any full season in his career, he's hitting more ground balls, generating less hard contact and swinging at more pitches out of the zone. In addition, his average and maximum exit velocity is the lowest Statcast has ever recorded, though the max exit velocity is still elite.

Aside from that, the Twins have plenty of bat only guys which is a big reason the Twins didn't re-sign Cruz as a free agent.

 

2020 exit velo vs Fastballs - (Twins runaway MVP)

 

cruz.jpg.157a3e80f0e6681c712715b9dd6871a2.jpg

 

2022 exit velo vs Fastballs 

286155994_cruz2.jpg.687e22d68f37bb9ddeb91a6716ebf524.jpg

 

and his #'s vs fastballs overall in 2022

 

251501440_Screenshot2022-06-30005817.jpg.7a9bc186908924d2ac5d56c053ba8fa0.jpg

 

Hmmm , slow start .. May looks decent.

.545 SLG off fastballs the last 2 months

His statcast numbers would rank #4 overall on the Twins right now.

4 Homers with a .258 / .343 / .452 (.795 OPS) slash over last 25 games.

.313 / .389 / .563 (.951 ops) vs LHP over that duration as well.

It's a rental, were looking at a Sands / Sabato / Enlow type ... If that can upgrade DH from Jeffers, pretty easy no brainer.

What im trying to say, almost all of what you said was just untrue and not remotely valid.

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