Seeking to keep pace in the competitive American League East, the Tampa Bay Rays traded for All-Star designated hitter Nelson Cruz on Thursday.
The Twins announced the move, which sends Cruz along with minor league pitcher Calvin Faucher to Tampa Bay for a pair of prospect pitchers, Drew Strotman and Joe Ryan -- two of Minnesota's top three starters at Triple-A Durham this season.
With the Twins entering Thursday at 41-55 and 17 games out of first place in the AL Central, Cruz's name has been circulating as a player likely to be moved ahead of the trade deadline, set for July 30.
The Rays entered Thursday a game behind Boston with New York and Toronto still in the hunt.
Cruz, 41, is batting .294/.370/.537 with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs in 85 games this season for the Twins. He just made his seventh All-Star team, his first while with the Twins. The four-time Silver Slugger has 436 career home runs.
Faucher, 25, went 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA in 19 relief outings for Minnesota's Double-A Wichita affiliate this season. He was originally a 10th-round pick by the Twins in 2017.
Strotman, 24, is 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) at Durham. He has 62 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. The Rays selected him in the fourth round of the 2017 draft.
Ryan, 25, has gone 4-3 this season for Durham with a 3.63 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts). The Rays first selected Ryan in the seventh round in the 2018 draft.
--Field Level Media