The Oakland A’s don’t need Nelson Cruz
By Mia Foucek
It’s always an exciting time when trade deadline chatter begins. Everyone with a Twitter account starts throwing out guesses about potential trades and which teams are looking to acquire or unload. Heavy hitter Nelson Cruz was recently named in rumors for potential Minnesota trade with the Oakland A’s.
Toronto is reportedly high on the list of teams interested in the perennial Twins slugger. But sources say the 4x Silver Slugger could be plugged into the A’s lineup, especially as they continue to chase down the AL West title. This begs the question – is Cruz in the DH spot going to push the A’s over the edge or is the cost too high?
Does the Oakland A’s offense need Nelson Cruz in the DH spot?
In his 17th season, Cruz’s current slash line sits at .299/.372/.533, with a record low strikeout rate, and was selected as Minnesota’s only 2021 All-Star player. It’s incredible what this guy is still doing and with no end in sight.
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And we all know about Mitch Moreland‘s struggles this season and the surprising disparity between pitching and offense. With a .233 team batting average, the A’s rank 20th in all of baseball. But if you’re like me, you’re a firm believer that BA does not tell the whole story.
Currently, the A’s have a slugging percentage of .402 and a .314 OBP. I won’t bore you more with numbers but this is the essence of the A’s production. Although Moreland’s injury and his production at DH are not great, there are other options within the organization.
Oakland A’s need a sure thing for the postseason
While you can make the case for Cruz joining the lineup, the A’s need someone that can produce in the postseason. Over the last two playoff years, Cruz has been less than stellar. In 2019, his WPA was below average at .03 and 2020 was not that much better. If the A’s want to get past the early rounds, they’re going to need a guy who can push them over the edge.
While unlikely, maybe Moreland can come back healthy and return to his postseason form. Yes, uncertainty at the DH spot remains, but my biggest concern…
Is Nelson Cruz worth the price?
Even if Cruz is the best option, price is the biggest concern in an A’s trade. Although still below league payroll average, adding upwards of $5 million for the remainder of Cruz’s contract might not be worth trading away a minor league prospect. The price is an even bit steeper when you consider the questions surrounding his recent postseason numbers.
Let’s face it – the front office is creative. Nelson Cruz may be mashing baseballs at 41, but a trade doesn’t seem worth the price when the Oakland A’s need to lock it down in the postseason.