Cruz is on a 1 year, $13 million deal with the Twins, who brought him back as part of a team that was viewed as one of the top contenders in the American League Central. The Twins have had a disastrous season, however, and are now in sell mode in regards to a number of players who are on short term deals.
The 41 year old Cruz has a slash line of .290/.370/.537 this season and was named to the All Star team for the seventh time. He is pretty much limited to a DH role at this point — he hasn’t played the field since 2018 — but the Rays have been looking for an impact bat for the middle of their lineup, and he fits the bill. The Rays are currently a game back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, and are currently in possession of the first Wild Card spot.
UPDATE — Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman are going to the Twins from the Rays, per reports. They are each righthanded pitchers.
Ryan was a 7th round pick out of Cal State Stanislaus, whatever that is, in 2018. Ryan was ranked #13 on the Baseball America Rays top 30 prospect list this offseason. He just turned 25 and has a 3.63 ERA in the International League this year in 57 innings with 75 Ks against 10 walks and 8 home runs.
Strotman, 24, was a 4th round pick out of St. Mary’s in 2017. He has a 3.39 ERA in 58.1 IP this year in AAA, and has 62 Ks against 33 walks.
Ryan seems to be the prize of this deal, although Strotman is a decent prospect as well. Strotman is already on the 40 man roster, while Ryan is Rule 5 eligible after this season, and the Rays’ ongoing tight 40 man situation likely is a factor in their willingness to give up this pair for Cruz.