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The Tampa Bay Rays landed a big bat for the stretch run on Thursday, acquiring slugger Nelson Cruz in a deal with the Minnesota Twins eight days before the MLB trade deadline, the teams announced Thursday.
Cruz, 41, is a seven-time All-Star – including this season – with 19 home runs with 50 RBI and a .907 OPS serving exclusively as a designated hitter in 2021. Cruz's 279 home runs since 2014 are the most of any player in baseball.
Minnesota will receive pitching prospects Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman in exchange for Cruz and minor league pitcher Calvin Faucher.
Tampa Bay, one game behind in the Red Sox in the AL East entering play Thursday, has rotated at the designated hitter spot this season and Cruz should step right into the every
The Rays rank in the bottom half of the AL in OPS (.712) and the addition of Cruz to the lineup should provide a huge boost to the lineup. Tampa Bay reached the World Series in 2020, losing to the Dodgers in six games
Cruz joined the Twins prior to the 2019 season and helped the team win back-to-back AL Central titles. A free agent after the 2021 season, Cruz is on a one-year, $13 million deal that he signed over the winter.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nelson Cruz traded to Tampa Bay Rays from Minnesota Twins