Rays purchase slugger Cruz in commerce with Twins

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CLEVELAND — Nelson Cruz packed up his massive bat and joined a contender.

The Tampa Bay Rays acquired Cruz, considered one of baseball’s most confirmed sluggers, in a four-player commerce with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday evening.

Cruz was effectively conscious of the probability he’d be dealt this month with the disappointing Twins effectively out of competition. Nonetheless, he informed reporters the information nonetheless felt “surprising” and “heartbreaking” to him after turning into keen on the group over his 2½ seasons in Minnesota.

“It is a robust one,” Cruz stated. “I suppose it is a new chapter, and I’ll embrace it the way in which I embrace every part in my life to go assist the Tampa Bay Rays to win a championship.”

Moments earlier than opening a four-game collection at Cleveland, the Rays, who entered the evening only one sport behind first-place Boston within the American League East, introduced they bought Cruz and minor leaguer Calvin Faucher from Minnesota in change for minor league right-handers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman.

Cruz, 41, is a seven-time All-Star with 436 profession homers and 1,202 RBIs. He’ll convey some wanted pop to Tampa Bay’s lineup and will assist the Rays in opposition to left-handers. They’re hitting .226 versus lefties.

Following Tampa Bay’s 5-4 comeback win over the Indians, Rays supervisor Kevin Money stated he was thrilled to be including somebody of Cruz’s caliber.

“It’s extremely thrilling,” stated Money, who lately managed Cruz within the All-Star Sport at Denver. “We’re a very good crew and we all know we simply bought higher by including Nelson Cruz, one of many hottest bats on the market. His presence. His management. I’ve identified him for a very long time now, and also you by no means hear anybody say a damaging factor about him, so we’re including a high-quality hitter and a high-quality particular person.”

Money wasn’t precisely certain when Cruz would be part of the Rays.

Past his expertise on the plate, Cruz provides Tampa Bay a seasoned participant with years of data.

“We’ll enable him to exit and do what he does,” stated Money, who should juggle his roster to ensure Cruz is normally within the lineup. “He’ll DH and hopefully man that place for 3 months.”

With Cruz out of the lineup, the Twins fell 3-2 to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday evening.

“I feel the entire crew had a consensus of being a bit unhappy to listen to the information,” Twins starter Kenta Maeda stated via his translator. “I feel that is the place we have been as a crew as we speak earlier than the sport.”

First baseman Miguel Sano paid tribute by carrying his good friend’s sport pants.

“They each put on fairly good-sized pants, so to the attention, I couldn’t inform any distinction. However I wager it meant quite a bit to Miguel to be doing that, and doubtless Nellie, too,” Twins supervisor Rocco Baldelli stated.

Normally frugal Tampa Bay assumes the $5.1 million remaining in Cruz’s $13 million wage. The Rays started the season with a $68.3 million payroll, twenty sixth among the many 30 groups.

Cruz additionally has loads of playoff expertise with 17 homers and 37 RBIs in 46 postseason video games. He is batting .294 with 19 homers and 50 RBIs this season, and in 258 video games with the Twins, he completed with 76 homers and a .984 OPS.

“Folks joke about how he is ageless, and it actually does really feel that approach,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey stated.

With every week till the commerce deadline and no shot at making the playoffs, the Twins figured they’d get one thing for Cruz to start constructing towards the long run. Minnesota is 41-56 this season.

“He could also be the most effective teammate I’ve ever seen by way of the way in which he goes about his enterprise, the way in which he places his arm round folks, the way in which he helps us turn into higher in our front-office jobs and coaching-staff jobs,” Falvey stated. “This man is past particular.”

A 17-year veteran, Cruz signed a one-year, $13 million take care of Minnesota in February. He has additionally performed with Baltimore and Texas. He hit no less than 37 homers per season from 2014 to 2019. He belted a career-high 44 homers for the Seattle Mariners in 2015.

“We thought we needs to be within the playoff race,” Cruz stated. “By no means thought we needs to be on this state of affairs. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. You by no means wish to go away the locations the place you might be, the place you’re feeling snug. It’s what it’s. That is a part of the enterprise.”

Each Ryan and Strotman have been in Triple-A Durham’s rotation.

Ryan, a 25-year-old who will even pitch for Crew USA within the Tokyo Olympics, had a 3.63 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 57 innings for the Bulls and was ranked by MLB.com because the No. 10 prospect in Tampa Bay’s system. He was a seventh-round draft decide in 2018.

Strotman, 24, had a 3.39 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 58⅓ innings with Durham. He was the Seventeenth-ranked Rays prospect after being drafted within the fourth spherical in 2017.

Faucher, 25, had a 7.04 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 30⅔ innings for Double-A Wichita. He was a Tenth-round draft decide by the Twins in 2017.

The Related Press contributed to this report.