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  • Twins Trade Deadline Szn: 3 Trade Proposals for Nelson Cruz


    Matthew Taylor

    We are less than 6 weeks away from the 2021 MLB trade deadline, and the Minnesota Twins figure to be active participants in the trade market. One player likely to get traded is Nelson Cruz. Who could the Twins get back in return?

    At age 40, Nelson Cruz has picked up right where he left off in 2020. In 63 games thus far in 2021, Cruz owns a .936 OPS and leads the Minnesota Twins in home runs and RBI. Set to become a free agent at the end of the season, Cruz figures to be a prime trade piece for the Minnesota Twins this July. Cruz provides a middle-of-the order bat that many teams look for as they beef up for a playoff run. What the Twins have working against themselves, though, in looking for a trade partner is the nature of Nelson Cruz’s position. As a designated hitter, the list of potential suitors for Cruz is automatically cut in half to be just American League teams. From there, you trim down the list to only the contending teams, and suddenly there aren’t many teams left who would be interested in Cruz. Nevertheless, a Nelson Cruz trade makes a ton of sense for the Twins and we’re going to find some potential trade options for him.

    In laying out trade proposals for Nelson Cruz, we will use Baseball Trade Values. BTV is a website that assigns a point total of “value” to all Major and Minor Leaguers, and based on those point values assesses whether a trade would be accepted or not. Baseball Trade Values is certainly not an imperfect resource, but it gives an objective way to start the trade conversation and provide a starting point for a trade proposal. With that being said…

    Trade Proposal #1:

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    The first trade proposal for Nelson Cruz would be a deal sending the designated hitter to the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto figures to have a lot of interest in the 40-year-old Cruz, as their .622 team OPS from the designated hitter position is 2nd worst in the American League. As a team, the Blue Jays are 36-35 and 5.5 games back from a wild card spot. With a masher like Cruz being implemented into the lineup, the Blue Jays would have a real shot at making their first postseason appearance since 2016.

    Coming back to the Minnesota Twins, the Toronto Blue Jays would send two of their top-20 prospects in RHP Adam Kloffenstein and RHP T.J. Zeuch. Kloffenstein is the Toronto Blue Jays’ 9th ranked prospect and is still just 20 years old. Kloffenstein was a 3rd round draft pick as a high school pitcher and throws a solid fastball with a good curveball and slider. In low-A in 2019, the right hander posted a 2.24 ERA in 64.1 innings. In addition to Kloffenstein, the Twins would acquire AAA pitcher, T.J. Zeuch. Zeuch is the Blue Jays’ 26th ranked prospect and at the age of 25 is Major League ready. In 49 career innings in the Majors, Zeuch owns a 4.59 ERA, but his 6-foot-7 frame and quality slider could turn him into a quality reliever in the Majors.

    Trade Proposal #2:

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    Another contending team that has struggled from the DH position this season has been the Twins’ central division foes, the Chicago White Sox. The Sox are currently getting a .707 OPS this season from the DH spot, the 6th worst mark in the American League. While the White Sox are leading the AL Central, they have dropped 5 games in a row, and will likely be looking to tie up the loose ends of their roster in preparation for a playoff run. One of those loose ends could be DH, and Nelson Cruz could be the name that makes the most sense.

    In return for Nelson Cruz, one name the Twins could be looking at is single-A middle infield prospect, Jose Rodriguez. At the age of 20, Rodriguez is still an extremely raw prospect, but he has the upside to be a cornerstone in the middle infield one day. Rodriguez ranks as the White Sox #15 prospect, but could move up the ranks quickly. With not much pipeline depth at middle infield, Rodriguez could be a nice prize for the Twins to get back in exchange for Cruz.

    Trade Proposal #3:

    OsOG8V_4AvF_pydPpXxJyH4UPyPK-9KUfv_Ho9U6leTAxhM_sIpSNN7yUKcI-pL3j8lflPs2yA2vgO7cUk0mtbla6bsXzb45RYpFLa6JKAKtWwlVOoVBaa7u6EuzPHNa7vu9fGgZ

    Locked into a tight AL West division race with the Houston Astros, the Oakland Athletics will be looking to bolster their lineup with some much needed pop, as the Athletics have received a sub-.700 OPS from their DH position this season. Nelson Cruz would naturally fill in for a struggling Mitch Moreland and give the A’s the help they need.

    In return, the Athletics would send the Twins their 8th ranked prospect, RHP Jeff Criswell. At 22 years old, Criswell was a 2nd round pick in 2022 and owns a fastball that sticks in the mid-90s. With a farm system fighting through injuries this season, a pitching prospect would be a big deal for the Minnesota Twins, and Criswell could be the perfect fit.

    Which of the 3 trade proposals above would you like best for Nelson Cruz? Given the likely trade returns for the Twins’ DH do you think the Twins are better off hanging onto him? Leave a comment below and start the conversation.


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    Klofenstein is interesting but Zuech no way.  I can think of about 5 to 6 guys we have already that look better than him.  I would rather have Sem Robberse than Zuech.  At least he has potential to be above average in time.  Klofenstein has been far from a K machine but he is young for the level and holding his own.

    It would take Norge Vera (#7) or Andrew Daiquist (#5) to get me interested in anything the White Sox have.  We have plenty of bats for 2nd and third base where Rodriguez projects.  I mean Spencer Steer looks better than this guy ever could be so why even trade Cruz for someone like that?

    Criswell looks OK but he also looks injured so would want another GCL or A ball prospect added to make that work for me.  Don't know what his issues are but if TJ is likely involved gonna need more.

    Maybe I am dreaming too big for Cruz but he does have a big bat and would be a true difference maker in the playoffs.  I guess we will have to wait and see how badly someone wants him.

     

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    Seems like the return is in line. Hopefully with competition for Cruz the return will be more. 
     

    The most recent trade I found for a possible comp DH is Beltran to the Rangers in 2016. The Rangers parted with more to get him. Two other rental bats that moved in the last five years were Nick Castellanos to the Cubs (return was similar to those above) and JD Martinez (return somewhat better). I am sure the ability to play OF opened up more competition for their services.

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    Nice analysis. I definitely don't want him going to the Sox. Even for just this season, I don't want to be playing against him. Maybe selfishly, but no....do not send him to a team in our division.

    As for the others, perhaps. Any lower prospect is always a risk...so unless Twins are desperate to get rid of Cruz, I doubt they will get 'value' for him...enough to compensate for the loss of his bat. If this will be his last season, I guess letting him go isn't the worst thing on the planet. If Twins are totally out of it (which is pretty likely), roll the dice and see if they get lucky. Honestly, most trade partners will not be willing to give up much...so it will be a charity move at best. I think its pie in the sky to think otherwise for a 40 year old DH rental.

    He may just end up being more valuable to the Twins if he stays. Trade someone else.

    But question: are they sellers at the deadline simply to shed salary or to improve the team...eventually?

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    Both option 1 and 3 seem fine. The Chi Sox should be paying a PREMIUM for an intradivision trade. Isn't that what we always keep hearing from national reporters? I'm asking for either Kelley or BOTH Thompson AND Dalquist for Cruz and some cash sent to the Sox. Might have to throw in a reliever like Robles or Alex (if they want him back) but that should be a doable trade. Otherwise the Rays are the other team that we know is/was interested in Cruz for trade.

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    I hope that Cruz retires a Twin. With him, it’s been a good run and if they can get the pitching fixed, he  can still help. If I had to choose a deal, it would be the Oakland deal.

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    Personally, though not particularly popular, I think the Twins best option is to package Cruz in a deal with Berrios to the Rays. With Glasnow down likely needing Tommy John, the Rays need that established, inning eater, top of the rotation vet, to step in and compete for the AL.

    With Berrios, the Rays get just that. Being controllable and cheap is also a huge asset to the Rays, knowing what we do and their track record paying talent.

    Here's what I propose

    Rays Jose Berrios, Nelson Cruz

    Twins pay the remainder of both contracts this year adding more of an incentivize to the Rays, while giving them exactly what they need to compete throughout the rest of the year. Tampa has been linked to Cruz in the past and they have struggled mightily against left handed pitching to thus far in the season.

    Twins : Shane Baz, Joe Ryan, Taj Bradley, Brent Honeywell, Kevin Kiermaier

    Baz has turned the corner this year with his command becoming one of the pitching prospects in baseball to this point in the season, dominating double A and continuing that theme in with his recent promotion in triple A. Joe Ryan is a MLB ready arm that has middle of the rotation upside as a 3, but most likely a 4 in. Bradley is a high upside, low A pitcher, that has had success this year flashing great strikeout numbers and commanding the zone better than anticipated this early in his career. Brent Honeywell, a former top 50 prospect, is finally back from injuries and working into the grove of things. At this point he really is just a flier add in that presents upside and can contribute to a Major League roster sooner than later... Now, Kiermaier's locked into his current deal with 17 mil remaining through 2022 and a 2.5 mil buyout for 2023. The Rays, being as cheap as they are, would be ecstatic to get that contract off the books, especially considering the depth they have... The Twins take that money off their hands and get a former gold glove outfielder who really is just a 2 year 19.5 mil signing if you anticipate the Twins exercising that buyout option.

    The Twins have been unsuccessful locking Berrios into the extension they desire the past few years so maximizing his value now has got to be the focus. With Duran, Enlow, and Canterino going down with elbow injuries, the Twins need to replenish the system with arms that are MLB ready + young talent with top 100 upside. They get both in this deal.

    My 2 cents, would love to hear everyone's thoughts.

    Oh, heres the deal breakdown on baseballtradevalues as well - https://www.baseballtradevalues.com/trades/trade-49374/

     

     

     

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    I gotta be honest, I am not a huge fan of getting single-A prospects. I know there's an argument for organizational depth and it can't be ignored. But for this Twins team, the window is still open and right now it looks like "2022 or Bust". So if the Twins can grab a high level prospect who might be able to contribute as early as next season, I'd be in favor of that deal.

    Example: remember when the Twins traded Eduardo Escobar? That was 3 years ago. So for 3 years, the Minnesota Twins MLB club has received exactly nothing from that trade. Zilch. The trade didn't help them in 2019 when they really needed great pitching. The trade didn't help them in 2020 when they really needed pitching. And it didn't help them this year, either (guess what, the Twins really need pitching!)

    Jhoan Duran looks like a nice prize but the fact that Twins had to let him bake in the oven for 3 years is certainly a drawback. Having Duran pitch well for this team in 2024 when Berrios and Buxton are in NYC, Sano is in Japan, and Donaldson is retired is going to be bittersweet!

    In short: get a guy who can contribute soon!

     

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    8 hours ago, Tim said:

    Personally, though not particularly popular, I think the Twins best option is to package Cruz in a deal with Berrios to the Rays. With Glasnow down likely needing Tommy John, the Rays need that established, inning eater, top of the rotation vet, to step in and compete for the AL.

    With Berrios, the Rays get just that. Being controllable and cheap is also a huge asset to the Rays, knowing what we do and their track record paying talent.

    Here's what I propose

    Rays Jose Berrios, Nelson Cruz

    Twins pay the remainder of both contracts this year adding more of an incentivize to the Rays, while giving them exactly what they need to compete throughout the rest of the year. Tampa has been linked to Cruz in the past and they have struggled mightily against left handed pitching to thus far in the season.

    Twins : Shane Baz, Joe Ryan, Taj Bradley, Brent Honeywell, Kevin Kiermaier

    Baz has turned the corner this year with his command becoming one of the pitching prospects in baseball to this point in the season, dominating double A and continuing that theme in with his recent promotion in triple A. Joe Ryan is a MLB ready arm that has middle of the rotation upside as a 3, more likely a 4 in the rotation. Bradley is a high upside, low A pitcher, that has had success this year flashing great strikeout numbers and commanding the zone well. Brent Honeywell, a former top 50 prospect, is finally back from injuries and working his into the grove of things. At this point he really is just a flier add in that present upside. Can contribute to a Major League roster soon though... Now, Kiermaier's locked into his current deal with 17 mil remaining through 2022 and a 2.5 mil buyout for 2023. The Rays, being as cheap as they are, would be ecstatic to get that contract off the books, especially considering the depth they have... The Twins take that money off their hands and get a former gold glove outfielder who really is just a 2 year 19.5 mil signing if you anticipate the Twins exercising that buyout option.

    The Twins have been unsuccessful locking Berrios into the extension they desire the past few years so maximizing his value now has got to be the focus. With Duran, Enlow, and Canterino going down with elbow injuries, the Twins need to replenish the system with arms that are MLB ready + young talent with top 100 upside. They get both in this deal.

    My 2 cents, would love to hear everyone's thoughts.

    Oh, heres the deal breakdown on baseballtradevalues as well - https://www.baseballtradevalues.com/trades/trade-49374/

     

     

     

    Love this trade idea. Sending the Rays some cash and getting them out from under KK's contract will definitely help in getting some quality prospects. Very similar to some Twins/Rays trade ideas I have posted on that website previously 😀

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    1 hour ago, bighat said:

    I gotta be honest, I am not a huge fan of getting single-A prospects. I know there's an argument for organizational depth and it can't be ignored. But for this Twins team, the window is still open and right now it looks like "2022 or Bust". So if the Twins can grab a high level prospect who might be able to contribute as early as next season, I'd be in favor of that deal.

    Example: remember when the Twins traded Eduardo Escobar? That was 3 years ago. So for 3 years, the Minnesota Twins MLB club has received exactly nothing from that trade. Zilch. The trade didn't help them in 2019 when they really needed great pitching. The trade didn't help them in 2020 when they really needed pitching. And it didn't help them this year, either (guess what, the Twins really need pitching!)

    Jhoan Duran looks like a nice prize but the fact that Twins had to let him bake in the oven for 3 years is certainly a drawback. Having Duran pitch well for this team in 2024 when Berrios and Buxton are in NYC, Sano is in Japan, and Donaldson is retired is going to be bittersweet!

    In short: get a guy who can contribute soon!

     

    For me I want them to get the best prospect they can get regardless of the level they are at. The main reason they got Duran is because he was in Low A at the time so he was much farther from the majors which means a higher risk of whiffing on the prospect. They also picked him up before he broke out when his value was lower too compared to now when he's a top 100 guy.

     

    Same thing happened against the Twins with Ynoa and Gil when they traded them away.

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    1 minute ago, Karbo said:

    I honestly dont look at any of these 3 and think wow what a deal. I would hope we can do better for the best hitter in our lineup.

    Yeah, but the thing about Cruz is 41 years old - he's really got zero value to anyone outside of July, August and September of 2021. Teams aren't going to mortgage their future for a guy like Cruz, unfortunately. Twins would probably get way more for a guy like Kepler or even possibly Sano, believe it or not.

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    4 minutes ago, bighat said:

    Yeah, but the thing about Cruz is 41 years old - he's really got zero value to anyone outside of July, August and September of 2021. Teams aren't going to mortgage their future for a guy like Cruz, unfortunately. Twins would probably get way more for a guy like Kepler or even possibly Sano, believe it or not.

    Does his age really matter?  He's only under contract for this year anyways.  It doesn't matter how old he is, he still only has value for July, August, and September.

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    Not going to pretend I know who any of these players are in the proposed trades. That’s about what I would expect though. Either long shot A ball players or fringe players that need to be added to the 40 man roster, like Smeltzer, Cave, Raley, etc. 

    I’d rather keep Cruz, personally. Unless he requests a trade himself and wants to chase a WS ring. 

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    Cruz seems like a prototypical A's trade deadline pickup in a contending season. That seems most likely to me. 

    The Jays have had poor production, but George Springer returned this week after basically missing the whole season so far. With his return, one of those badass corner OF bats moves to DH (probably Teoscar Hernandez for the largest share of starts), turning DH from a weakness into a strength. On top of that, Alejandro Kirk will be coming back from injury soon and suddenly good bats are trying to find time in the DH spot. Jays are out. Pitching will be their focus.

    Sox will probably not give up much for Cruz due to the division rivalry. There will be other bats the Sox can get from outside the division that they will likely feel more comfortable trading proper value for.

    And that comes back around to the A's. This just feels inevitable to me.

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    I just joined this sight after reading it for most of the year; in some ways it reminds me of Reusse who I found be very annoying when his show was still on KSTP radio station.

    There is a LOT we'll just bring up x, y or q , or just wait till j, k or h shows up which is like around Two Thousand Ten when all the blabber in the papers and radio was when Buxton, Hicks or Sano gets here replacing whom ever the god wannbe sports writer dissed on the team, THEN the Twins will return to former glory.

    Well they came; Buxton is as good as the hype, but fragile, Hicks no better than what they had, Sano -- they sent him down to Single A ball to teach him a lesson, time to do it again but at that none were the miracle cure the writers blabbered about while dissing veterans.

    SO

    I have watched the Twins since the year they arrived, but if they dump Cruz for some other miracle cure, I will not stay up late to watch them fail even quicker than they do now.

    I have checked current stats on some of the players at Baseball Ref. site from the 2019 team discarded and they should have kept Schoop and Gonzalez who were/are far better than Arraez who wants to throw the ball out into right field rather than the First Base Man.    Cron at first base would be far better than Sano, who is a guaranteed out except when he hits a home run.

    Only Rosario is not up to snuff this year.

    There, I got that off of my chest as after years of -- Well when  (insert name here)  miracle man/men come up from the minors then the Twins will suddenly be SOOOO much better, -- and I could not take it any more (Too many years of Reusse are partly to blame).

    In many ways the front office reminds me of the Viqueens front office and head coach, GEE we have a winning team, lets dump what has made us a winner and bring in some one who will change that.

    As an aside, since Tom Kelly left, the Twins cannot beat the Yankees, to me, that is because none of the managers have the guts to tell the players to pull their heads out of their rectal orifice, but then Billy Martin lost three in a row to Baltimore so maybe the manager is not the only sore point.

    WE'RE GONNA WIN TWINS, WE'RE GONNA SCORE....

     

     

     

     

     

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    The Twins should trade expiring contracts.

    They traded two months of Liriano and received a 23 year old Escobar. It took a while to realize that return but he was worth many times the two months of Liriano in a lost season. They traded two months of Escobar in a lost season and Duran is a very good prospect. They also received de la Trinidad who has a .933 OPS in AA. Maciel doesn’t look like he will make it but as a fast athletic centerfielder at 22 there is still hope the bat will develop.

    If they are presented the option of a younger high ceiling guys a few years away or low ceiling players ready next year I will take the younger players and wait hopefully on the upside.

    This is a lost season. They need to move the expiring contracts.

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    I think the trade values are probably pretty close.  They certainly don't match Cruz' production, but you're getting 2-3 months of it only.  I think a Duran-like return is what we can expect and probably what we should hope for, a guy with a real chance that hasn't put it all together yet.  It does look like it will be a five year wait for Duran to get to MLB, unfortunately.

    Chicago simply will not let a prospect with any upside go to the Twins, so I don't see a trade there.  Certainly Oakland and Toronto will let someone go who might make it big.  It's just not going to be a name we know real well.

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    I want to add the Rays to this list: Nelson Cruz for Taylor Walls. 

    We get a cheap, stud defensive SS for the next 1.5 years with upside that could hold the position for most of the decade. If not, he becomes a true Utility IF when Lewis is ready.

    Not sexy, but reasonable with the Rays having a glut of SS, including Franco, at the AAA/MLB level right now. Franco is the present and future SS there. Moving Walls off SS diminishes his value significantly at his age, so he seems like trade bait.

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    2 hours ago, Minny505 said:

    I want to add the Rays to this list: Nelson Cruz for Taylor Walls. 

    We get a cheap, stud defensive SS for the next 1.5 years with upside that could hold the position for most of the decade. If not, he becomes a true Utility IF when Lewis is ready.

    Not sexy, but reasonable with the Rays having a glut of SS, including Franco, at the AAA/MLB level right now. Franco is the present and future SS there. Moving Walls off SS diminishes his value significantly at his age, so he seems like trade bait.

    I like the idea, but Taylor Walls is a MLB ready SS, with a 50 "Future Value" grade and a top 100 overall prospect at Fangraphs.

    He may be a little redundant in Tampa but we're not getting him for a 2 month, 41 year old DH rental.

    Baseball Trade Values summarizes thusly:

    image.png.fdbe15705ca0cd1e9f9c74c17cde49fa.png

    You could quibble that Cruz is worth a little more, or Walls a little less, but I'm afraid that gap is a little too large to bridge.

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    17 hours ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

    I like the idea, but Taylor Walls is a MLB ready SS, with a 50 "Future Value" grade and a top 100 overall prospect at Fangraphs.

    Make the Rays ownership an offer they never refuse: cover Cruz's salary. 

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    8 hours ago, Minny505 said:

    Make the Rays ownership an offer they never refuse: cover Cruz's salary. 

    Eh, Cruz is owed less than $6 mil now, and that will be down to about $4.6 mil by trade deadline day. The Rays are frugal but that kind of money isn't going to bridge the value gap between Cruz and Walls.

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    2 hours ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

    Eh, Cruz is owed less than $6 mil now, and that will be down to about $4.6 mil by trade deadline day. The Rays are frugal but that kind of money isn't going to bridge the value gap between Cruz and Walls.

    Agreed. It's not even close. 

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