Rays acquire Cruz from Twins in 4-player trade
The Boomstick is headed to Tropicana Field.
Cruz and minor-league pitcher Calvin Faucher are headed to Tampa Bay in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman.
No cash exchanged hands, meaning the Rays - who own one of MLB's smallest payrolls - will assume the entirety of the roughly $5 million left on Cruz's contract, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
"I'm 41 (years old) ... I'm hunting for a ring too," Cruz said of joining the reigning AL champions, according to Tricia Whitaker of Bally Sports Florida. "I wanna be a part of a championship team. So I'm excited to be part of the Rays."
But leaving Minnesota is still proving difficult for Cruz, who was emotional after learning of the trade.
"It was shocking. Even if you're expecting something like this, you're never prepared for this," he said, according to Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com.
"I feel like (the Twins) was my family. We've been through a lot through the years," he added. "Definitely, this is heartbreaking."
Cruz has continued to render his age moot during his stellar 2021 campaign. He's hitting .294/.370/.537 with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs across 85 games. Earlier this month, Cruz was named an All-Star for the seventh time.
The four-time Silver Slugger winner immediately boosts a Rays lineup that currently ranks 16th in OPS (.712). Against left-handers, Tampa Bay's .682 OPS ranks 26th; that should improve with Cruz and his 1.010 OPS versus southpaws this year.
Cruz has been one of the majors' premier sluggers over his 17-year career. His 436 career home runs rank third among active players, and he's surpassed the 40-homer mark four times, most recently in 2019.
Faucher, the other player headed to Tampa Bay, is a 25-year-old right-hander in his fourth professional season. He owns a 7.04 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 24 walks across 19 outings at Double-A Wichita this season.
Strotman, one of the two pitching prospects headed to Minnesota, was ranked as the Rays' No. 17 prospect by MLB.com. The 24-year-old owns a 3.39 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with 62 strikeouts and 33 walks across 58 1/3 innings at Triple-A Durham. He was on the Rays' 40-man roster but has yet to pitch in the majors.
Ryan, the Rays' No. 10 prospect, posted a 3.63 ERA and 0.79 WHIP with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.6 walks per nine with Durham this year. The 25-year-old is currently pitching for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.
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