MLB Trade Rumors: Twins' Nelson Cruz Interests Athletics, Blue Jays Ahead of Deadline

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 8, 2021

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 30: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 30, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Twins 13-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams potentially interested in trading for Minnesota Twins slugger Nelson Cruz ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, according to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. 

Cruz, who was recently announced to his seventh All-Star team, is hitting .304 this year with 18 homers, 45 RBI, 37 runs and a .939 OPS. At 41, he hasn't missed a beat. 

But with the Twins limping to a 35-50 record and well out of the postseason picture already—a disappointment, considering their playoff berths in three of the previous four seasons—a veteran slugger like Cruz is expendable. 

He's well on pace to exceed the 30-homer mark for the seventh time in the past eight seasons (and his 16 homers in just 53 games last year during the pandemic-shortened year suggest he would have hit that threshold in a full campaign, too). 

The only downside for the Twins in any trade talks for Cruz is that his market is limited to American League teams, given that he's a full-time designated hitter at this stage in his career. He hasn't made an appearance in the field since the 2018 season, and between the 2017-18 seasons played a total of just nine games in the outfield. 

But for teams in need of instant offense, Cruz fits the bill. Imagining him in a Toronto lineup that already includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien, Randal Grichuk, Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez and a now-healthy George Springer is downright frightening. 

That lineup could propel the 44-40 Blue Jays into a postseason berth. Ditto for the 49-39 Athletics, where Cruz would be an enormous upgrade at DH over Mitch Moreland and give the Athletics a nasty punch in the middle of their lineup next to Matt Olson and Ramon Laureano.