The defending American League champions seem to be all-in on making another trip to the World Series as they are on the verge of acquiring 7x All-Star Nelson Cruz in a four-player swap with the Minnesota Twins. The Rays, 57-39, enter play tonight only a game back behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox.
The Rays aren’t known for their deadline splashes. Historically, the Rays target players that have years left on their contracts. Cruz is in the final year of his deal with the Twins. Cruz, however, will be the biggest difference maker they’ve ever gotten out of a rental. The Rays have a .694 OPS this season in the DH spot. Cruz should rectify this. Over time with the Brewers, Rangers, Orioles, Mariners and Twins, Cruz has 436 big-league homeruns, a 42.1 lifetime WAR and a fantastic .278/.348/.529 slashline over 17 MLB seasons. This season, he’s swatted 19 homeruns and is posting a .294/.370/.537 slash.
It was first reported by Jeff Passan of ESPN that the two sides were close around 6:35 PM EST, but has now been confirmed by the Twins organization only 20 minutes later.
Joe Ryan is the biggest piece going back to the Twins and was previously the number ten prospect in the Rays organization. Ryan, 25, has a 3.63 ERA in AAA Durham in 2021 and averages nearly 12 Ks per nine innings of work. Strotman is the Rays number 17 prospect and has a 3.39 ERA in AAA Durham this season. The Twins acquired two starters near major-league ready that look to be a very near-fixture on their major league club. For the Rays, they’ve finally landed a big bat that’s eluded them for most of the last two seasons.