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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Rays Acquire Nelson Cruz From Twins

Tampa Bay hopes Cruz, the 41-year-old slugger and seven-time All-Star, will fortify the club’s lineup and make it a more formidable group down the stretch, especially against left-handed pitchers.

Rays get: DH Nelson Cruz, RHP Calvin Faucher

Twins get: RHP Joe Ryan (Rays’ No. 10 prospect per MLB Pipeline) and RHP Drew Strotman (No. 17)

villageidiom Posted: July 22, 2021 at 11:50 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minnesota, minnesota twins, nelson cruz, rays, tampa bay, tampa bay rays, trades, twins

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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 23, 2021 at 07:03 AM (#6030108)
This strikes me as a great trade for all involved. The Rays are not screwing around - it doesn't look like the Twins are taking back any of the remaining salary for Cruz ($13m for the full season, roughly $5.2m for the remaining part of the season), and they gave up a legitimate pair of pitching prospects (particularly Ryan, would might be a top 5 prospect in most other teams' systems).

The Twins have to be pretty happy, as well - they got two starting pitching prospects who are pretty close to ready for the big leagues, and saved $5m, in exchange for a 41-year-old DH who wasn't going to be around next year, anyway.

As a Red Sox fan,Boston's success this year has felt like a bonus - this was supposed to be a rebuilding year,and the original plan was that guys like Hunter Renfroe and Adam Ottavino would be getting traded at the deadline to contenders...not the other way around. But here we are, and a question fans have had is whether or not Tampa will be able to stick around, and whether or not the Red Sox can stick around without upgrading via trade.

The Cruz trade communicates that if Boston believes, with 65 games to go, that this is a "go for it" season, that they're going to have to upgrade, especially at 1B, by the 31st.

This was a fun trade that makes the Twins better in the long run, and makes the playoff push more exciting in the AL.
   2. sotapop Posted: July 23, 2021 at 09:40 AM (#6030120)
As a Rays fan, I've just got to be happy to see the team make a big move at the trade deadline for once. (Though I remember them doing something not as big a few years ago, and falling flat. Can't recall the players. Anyone?) This is huge because the team's key hitters all are vulnerable to lefty pitchers. (Much as I love Brandon Lowe, he just flails at lefties.) I don't know how much value Cruz can add in just two months of games, but even if he just adds one win, it matters with the standings so tight. Hate to see them give up two solid pitchers, esp. as the higher-rated Patiño got lit up last night, but Baz and McKay are still in the organization and the Rays always seem to find pitchers. Just good to see them go all-in for once.
   3. Adam Starblind Posted: July 23, 2021 at 09:59 AM (#6030125)
I don't know how much value Cruz can add in just two months of games, but even if he just adds one win, it matters with the standings so tight.


I think a big part of trades like these is you get somebody with some potential to go all Cespedes for a month and make a tremendous difference. Nobody is likely to do that, but most players don't have the ability at all. Cruz does.
   4. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 23, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6030129)
Nobody is likely to do that, but most players don't have the ability at all. Cruz does.

Yeah, he certainly has a chance to go crazy for a month or two. Here's his last few Augusts, for example:

2020 - .305/.411/.632, 10 HR, 18 RBI
2019 - .397/.444/.808, 8 HR, 27 RBI
2018 - .270/.330/.550, 8 HR, 19 RBI (note that this .880 OPS is a "bad" August for him)
2017 - .341/.413/.747, 10 HR, 24 RBI
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: July 23, 2021 at 10:35 AM (#6030133)
Sure, he can go crazy over two months, but it would seem just as likely they're getting him for the playoffs. And at this point, they're probably the favorites to win the AL East, and were before getting Cruz.
   6. aberg Posted: July 23, 2021 at 11:48 AM (#6030152)
It's hard for a fanbase to care as much about a guy who played for the team for 2.5 years as the Twins do about Cruz. Such a fun player to cheer for and will be less fun to watch them with him gone. As the others have said, he's not the sort of rental where you hope to catch lighting in a bottle; he's going to hit as long as he's healthy. Setting aside the poor aesthetic experience of watching the Rays due to their ugly stadium, they're definitely one of the other AL teams I most like to see do well. I think every Twins fan will pick up Tampa as a mild rooting interest the rest of the way.

With that said, getting two legit pitching prospects for a half-season rental feels like a very good return. Ryan is a classic "prove it" guy with numbers that might not have the stuff to support them once we gets to the majors. The Twins have had a few of those guys over the years (Slowey, Littell) with mixed success. If he is able to stick, even as a back-end rotation option, that's obviously a great return. If both guys turn out to be decent bullpen pieces, that's even a good outcome compared to what Cruz's production would mean the rest of this year.

   7. sotapop Posted: July 23, 2021 at 12:20 PM (#6030160)
Sure, he can go crazy over two months, but it would seem just as likely they're getting him for the playoffs

yep, SoSH, and after what Arozarena did last year the Rays are probably hoping for a repeat w/ Cruz.
   8. Darren Posted: July 23, 2021 at 12:24 PM (#6030161)

I think a big part of trades like these is you get somebody with some potential to go all Cespedes


I believe the correct term is "go all Manny Ramirez."

We also would have accepted "go all JD Martinez."
   9. escabeche Posted: July 23, 2021 at 12:49 PM (#6030168)
All things considered, Orioles probably shouldda kept this guy
   10. Adam Starblind Posted: July 23, 2021 at 01:01 PM (#6030171)


I believe the correct term is "go all Manny Ramirez."

We also would have accepted "go all JD Martinez.


JDM makes sense because of Arizona in 2017, but I don't see where Manny did that kind of damage as a rental. I was referring to Cespedes hitting 17 HR the last two months of 2015.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: July 23, 2021 at 01:03 PM (#6030172)
.396/.489/.743 in the final 53 games of 2008 wasn't damaging enough?
   12. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 23, 2021 at 01:22 PM (#6030175)
Manny saved his best work in 2008 for the postseason. If you throw in the playoffs, Ramirez hit .410/.512/.783 for the 2008 Dodgers and he hit .520/.667/1.080 in 36 PA in the playoffs specifically. Wasn't enough to overcome the Phillies, unfortunately.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: July 23, 2021 at 01:46 PM (#6030177)
Mets get Rich Hill from Rays for 2 boxes of rocks
   14. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: July 23, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#6030183)
I get that they want a spot for Patino, but buying Cruz and selling Hill on the same day seems weird.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: July 23, 2021 at 02:18 PM (#6030186)
"Go all Randy Winn 2005" also works.

I had the FAAB edge for arrivals from AL, and was supposed to get "new Met Manny Ramirez."
when that didn't happen, there seemed to be no top prize so I settled for Winn, who arrived from the Mariners to the Giants on July 30.
100 OPS+ for Mariners for that season, and 99 OPS+ for career.

but for the Giants?
hit .359 in 231 AB with 14 HR (!). (never hit more than 14 HR in any other season.)
.391/.680/1.071 slash line.

just "Randy being Manny," as they say.
I cashed and cashed big.
:)

the Giants? they stumbled to a 75-87 record. no idea what the point of the trade was, as Giants were 45-58 at the time of the trade.
   16. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 23, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6030187)
Fun fact: Cruz' first pro manager (2001 AZL Athletics) was Ricky Nelson -- not the singer, but the occasional M's OF in the 80s. (It was only year as a manager.)
   17. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: July 23, 2021 at 02:43 PM (#6030191)
"Go all Randy Winn 2005" also works.


I have a photo of the scoreboard at Fenway Park noting that Winn "won a car by hitting a half-court shot during an LA Clippers game on 1/18/02."
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: July 23, 2021 at 02:51 PM (#6030192)
the Giants? they stumbled to a 75-87 record. no idea what the point of the trade was, as Giants were 45-58 at the time of the trade.


That's why Shannon Stewart is the go-to guy here. He went .322/.384/.470 in 65 games with the Twins, outpacing his career averages in any of those stats. And the Twins were a season-worst 44-49 the day they obtained him, won the first five games after the trade and went 46-21 over the back half of the season to win the AL Central by four.
   19. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: July 23, 2021 at 03:12 PM (#6030197)
Was that the year Jayson Stark went all in on the "Shannon Stewart for MVP" campaign?
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: July 23, 2021 at 03:24 PM (#6030198)

Was that the year Jayson Stark went all in on the "Shannon Stewart for MVP" campaign?


'Twas indeed. He was nowhere near the MVP of the AL that year, but he was quite the narrative candidate, his arrival and good play semi-coinciding so perfectly with the Twins second-half surge.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: July 23, 2021 at 06:41 PM (#6030213)
Around Wrigley, we call that the Gary Gaetti (1998) which is also age-appropriate for Mr. Cruz. Of course being the Cubs, we re-signed Gaetti for the next season.
   22. Riki Tiki Javy Lopez Posted: July 24, 2021 at 08:44 AM (#6030247)
All things considered, Orioles probably shouldda kept this guy


*hugs knees, sobs uncontrollably*
   23. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 24, 2021 at 01:40 PM (#6030258)
Even though he's a pitcher, Doyle Alexander is still the benchmark for out-of-nowhere excellence from mid-season trade pickups. Ramirez and Cruz are great hitters all the time. Winn was great, but already established as a near-.300 hitter with a little bit of pop. Stewart's numbers were fine but not really out of line with anything earlier in his career.

As a reminder, Doyle Alexander was a 36-year old with 2700 innings of being a 10-8 pitcher with a 3.71 career ERA (103 ERA+). He was playing out the string on a terrible 1987 Braves team having a very typical Doyle Alexander season sitting at 5-10, 4.13, when he gets traded to Detroit for their stretch run and instantly becomes peak Christy Mathewson for 2 months: 9-0 in 11 starts, 1.53, 8 innings per start, before transforming back into Doyle Alexander for 1988 and retiring after the 1989 season in which he led the AL in both losses and home runs allowed.

As a metric, divide their OPS+/ERA+ in their trade stretch run by their career number to see just how out of character it was for them:

Ramirez   1.44
Martinez  1.25
Wynn      1.75
Stewart   1.17
Alexander 2.71 
   24. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: July 24, 2021 at 02:23 PM (#6030264)
Alexander is a great one. I assume most posters here know this, but the price for Alexander was ultimately just a tad high
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: July 24, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6030268)
Not a stretch drive acquisition, but the Cubs' 1984 pickup of Sutcliffe delivered far greater results than anyone could have anticipated - 16-1, 2.69.

   26. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 25, 2021 at 06:26 AM (#6030307)
Doyle Alexander is a good one. I'd also mention Duster Mails, picked up by Cleveland on August 21, 1920 from Sacramento of the PCL for two players and cash. Mails hadn't pitched in the majors since 1916, and his MLB lifetime record was 0-2; he had gone 18-17 for Sacramento in 1920. He promptly went 7-0 in 9 games, 8 of them starts, with a 1.85 ERA for the Indians down the stretch, and the Indians won the pennant by two games. In the World Series, he was 1-0, the win being a three hit shutout in game six, and overall in the WS, Mails pitched 15-2/3 innings without giving up a run, as Cleveland beat Brooklyn.
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2021 at 10:25 AM (#6030312)
It's hard for a fanbase to care as much about a guy who played for the team for 2.5 years as the Twins do about Cruz.

Cruz only played one year (2014) for the Orioles, and produced a similar reaction. Hit a game winning home run on Opening Day and never looked back. Imagine if they'd offered the same deal to him that they'd given to Chris Davis a year earlier, and then dealt Davis off to another team after his last great season in 2015.
   28. Soul Man Posted: July 25, 2021 at 11:45 AM (#6030315)
As a career candidate, Glenallen Hill had a pretty impressive midseason acquisition resume:

1991- 97 OPS+ in 108 PA with Toronto , 108 OPS+ in 140 PA after trade to Cleveland

1993- 71 OPS+ in 191 PA with Cleveland, 206 OPS+ in 93 PA after trade to Cubs

1998- 119 OPS+ in 277 PA with Seattle, 154 OPS+ in 145 PA after being claimed by Cubs

2000- 100 OPS+ in 178 PA with Cubs, 175 OPS+ in 143 PA after trade to Yankees
   29. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6030320)
As a reminder, Doyle Alexander was a 36-year old with 2700 innings of being a 10-8 pitcher with a 3.71 career ERA (103 ERA+). He was playing out the string on a terrible 1987 Braves team having a very typical Doyle Alexander season sitting at 5-10, 4.13, when he gets traded to Detroit for their stretch run and instantly becomes peak Christy Mathewson for 2 months: 9-0 in 11 starts, 1.53, 8 innings per start, before transforming back into Doyle Alexander for 1988 and retiring after the 1989 season in which he led the AL in both losses and home runs allowed.

Alexander didn't wait that long to revert to form. In the 1987 ALCS he was manhandled by the Twins, allowing 10 runs and 14 hits in 9 innings over 2 starts. The Tigers were pretty big favors in that series, but thanks in great part to Alexander they never even made it to Game Six.
   30. Rough Carrigan Posted: July 25, 2021 at 01:02 PM (#6030321)
The Twins also beat up on Mr. Playoff Clutch, Jack Morris, to the tune of 6 runs in his only start in that playoff series.
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6030322)
But at least Morris had his postseason moments. Alexander had six postseason starts, with Game Scores ranging from 26 to 43. And that 43 was Game 1 of 1987, where he gave up 6 runs in 7.1 innings. In the deciding Game 5 of the 1973 ALCS, when he was then with the Orioles, he never made it out of the 4th inning in a loss to Oakland. It's hard to think of any other pitcher with that many postseason starts who never had a single good (or even mediocre) postseason game.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: July 25, 2021 at 01:25 PM (#6030323)
Cesar Cedeno does well in "WAR per day" stats.

as an Aug. 29, 1985 pickup by the Cardinals, he hit .434 in 76 AB with a slash line of .463/.750/1.213 and 6 HR, 19 RBI, 14 R, 5 SB. a 235 OPS+ after a career-low 78 for the Reds in 228 AB.

the Dodgers took a shot with CC in 1986, but he had a 65 OPS+ in 78 AB and was released in June, gone for good.

(incredibly, Cesar does not have a SABR bio !)
   33. shoelesjoe Posted: July 26, 2021 at 06:55 AM (#6030381)
When fans talk about Doyle Alexander the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that in his career he was traded for two Hall of Famers, the first of whom came to the majors in 1950 and the second was still playing in 2009.

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