How Twins’ strong return for Nelson Cruz could impact Yankees, Mets at MLB trade deadline

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·1 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz in the dugout in 2021
Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz in the dugout in 2021

After the Tampa Bay Rays acquired designated hitter Nelson Cruz from Minnesota for two prospects and the $5.1 million remaining of Cruz’s salary, surprised rival executives looked at the trade and thought: Huh. That’s a good deal for the Twins.

Now folks are wondering if it will drive up the price for rental bats, including potential Mets and Yankees targets Kris Bryant, Starling Marte, and Trevor Story.

Typically, half a season of a hitter in his walk year tends to be a reasonable acquisition. Sandy Alderson’s Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler coup in 2011 has always been the exception, not the rule.

That’s why there was some surprise in the industry that Minnesota was able to get pitching prospect Joe Ryan, in addition to pitching prospect Drew Strotman, for Cruz and minor league reliever Calvin Faucher. While not nearly Wheeler for Beltran, the deal still saw both money and a decent prospect on the move.

The 25-year-old Ryan grabbed the most attention, as he’s generally viewed as a strong prospect. He was a seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft and currently has a 3.63 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 57 innings in Triple-A. MLB.com ranked him as Tampa Bay’s No. 10 prospect.

Every situation is different, and Tampa Bay was likely more willing to trade prospects because of a coming roster crunch that could result in losing them anyway in this winter’s Rule 5 draft.

But to teams expecting that the likes of Cruz would come relatively cheap, it was an unwelcome sight to see the Twins receive salary relief and a good prospect.