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Nelson Cruz commerce grades: Rays add big-time bat, Twins begin sell-off

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The Rays acquired a head begin on the MLB commerce deadline frenzy Thursday by buying designated hitter Nelson Cruz from the Twins.

Tampa Bay despatched pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman to Minnesota for Cruz, who will add instantaneous offense to a workforce that is already within the high half of the American League in scoring. Tampa Bay additionally acquired minor league pitcher Calvin Faucher within the deal.

Minnesota, in the meantime, is beginning its midseason sell-off after failing to contend within the first half. 

Sporting Information grades the transfer for each groups.

Rays: A

Tampa Bay landed one of many high leases on the 2021 commerce market. Cruz’s title was within the rumor mill for weeks, and the Rays have had an curiosity in him beforehand; they pursued Cruz when he was a free agent after the 2018 season. He signed with the Twins as an alternative.

Cruz’s age (41) and remaining wage (about $5 million) are of small concern to a franchise that is making an attempt to return to the World Sequence. The Rays are getting probably the greatest DHs within the sport. Cruz entered Thursday with a .294/.370/.537 slash line (.907 OPS) and was main the membership with 19 dwelling runs and 50 RBIs.

It was not instantly clear whether or not the Twins will ship money to the Rays to cowl some or all of Cruz’s wage.  

Tampa Bay has used a rotation at DH this 12 months, with Austin Meadows getting nearly all of the at-bats, however that ought to change with Cruz coming aboard. It is uncertain that he’ll play within the outfield for his new workforce; the Rays have Meadows, Kevin Kiermaier, Randy Arozarena and Brett Phillips on the energetic roster. Manuel Margot is on the IL. Infielders Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle can play the outfield if wanted.

Twins: B+

Minnesota acquired two potential rotation items for a free-agent-to-be. Ryan was tenth and Strotman seventeenth in MLB Pipeline’s rating of the Rays’ high 30 prospects previous to the commerce. Faucher had a 7.04 ERA in Double-A, so the Twins did not throw in a high-level prospect.

Ryan, 25, posted a 3.63 ERA in 57 innings over 12 video games (11 begins) for Triple-A Durham this 12 months. Of higher notice, he allowed simply 35 hits and averaged 11.8 strikeouts per 9 innings to 1.6 walks per 9. That kind of command will play on the MLB degree.

Strotman, 24, was much less efficient however nonetheless good for Durham: a 3.39 ERA in 58 1/3 innings over 13 video games (12 begins), with 9.6 Ks per 9. His management is an issue, nonetheless: he averaged 5.1 walks per 9.

Up subsequent for Minnesota: Discussing doable offers involving different core items, corresponding to third baseman Josh Donaldson, No. 1 starter Jose Berrios and starters J.A. Happ and Michael Pineda. 

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