With just over one week until the trade deadline, a major domino has already fallen. On Tuesday evening, The Tampa Bay Rays acquired designated hitter Nelson Cruz and minor league pitcher Calvin Faucher from the Minnesota Twins. In exchange, the Rays sent starting pitches Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman to the Twins.
Cruz, even at the age of 41, has not slowed down this season, hitting 19 home runs with 50 RBI. He has logged a slash line of .294/.370/.357 in 85 games for the Twins this year. Faucher, a reliever, is currently in Double-A with a 7.04 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 30.2 innings pitched.
Ryan was Tampa Bay’s 10th-ranked prospect (according to MLB Pipeline) and is currently in Triple-A. He owns a 3.63 ERA with 75 strikeouts over 57 pitched. Meanwhile, Strotman ranked 17th in the Rays’ system. He has a 3.39 ERA and 62 strikeouts over 58.1 innings at the Triple-A level.
For Tampa Bay, they have acquired a very powerful bat to help them secure a more firm grasp on the top Wild Card spot they currently hold. They could also chase down the Boston Red Sox in the division as they currently trail them by just one game. Cruz will need to bring that power for the team as they sit in the middle of the league in home runs with 117 on the year. He also brings a great veteran presence into the clubhouse.
For Minnesota, this could be the start of what is anticipated to be a heavy selling period for the team. There are very few people that expected the Twins to be where they are currently, sitting fourth in the AL Central. Keep an eye on Jose Berrios as he is another name the Twins could be moving. Focusing more on this deal, the Twins made out alright by acquiring two of the Rays’ top-20 prospects. Ryan and Strotman will most likely report to their Triple-A affiliate in Saint Paul, but they both could see MLB action this year.
Now that the first domino has fallen, we could see more movement in the coming days.
Follow Carson Babbini on Twitter @cbabs1120
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