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#pounditSunday, November 28, 2021

Nelson Cruz acquired by Rays in trade with Twins

Nelson Cruz

The Tampa Bay Rays appear set to be the first team to make a major deal ahead of MLB’s trade deadline.

The Rays are finalizing a trade to acquire outfielder Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins, ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported on Thursday.

Pitching prospects Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman are being sent to Minnesota as part of the deal. Strotman, 24, was a 2017 4th-round pick. He is 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA in Triple-A this season. Ryan, 25, was a 7th-round pick in 2018. He is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA in Triple-A this season.

The 41-year-old Cruz has long been one of the game’s best sluggers, and that has continued despite the Twins’ struggles. Cruz has 19 home runs on the season and was named an All-Star for the seventh time in his career. The veteran outfielder is on a one-year deal, so the Rays are essentially renting him for the remainder of the season.

With the Twins struggling, Cruz was attracting widespread interest from around the league ahead of the July 31 deadline. The Rays, who sit just one game behind Boston for first place in the AL East, are the ones who have won the race and given themselves a big leg up for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.

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