The Oakland A’s were considered one of the favorites to land Nelson Cruz. The Minnesota Twins designated hitter would have immediately injected another power bat into the lineup, theoretically providing far more offense than Mitch Moreland possibly could. The question was whether or not the A’s could stomach the cost, both in terms of Cruz’s remaining salary and the prospects it would take to bring him in.
On Thursday, Cruz was finally traded by the Twins. He, along with minor league pitcher Calvin Faucher, went to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, two Triple-A pitchers who are seemingly close to the majors.
Oakland A’s were right to pass on Nelson Cruz
Both Ryan and Strotman have their warts. There is reliever risk with both pitchers – particularly Strotman as his command is questionable at best. However, both pitchers have performed well this season at Triple-A, and are considered to be close to major league ready. For a Twins’ team that has precious few pitching prospects, let alone those close to the majors, that was an impressive haul.
More from White Cleat Beat
- Zach Logue yet another disappointing Oakland A’s trade return
- Luis Barrera heading to familiar foe in Los Angeles Angels
- Looking back at Ruben Sierra with the Oakland A’s
- San Francisco Giants showing Oakland A’s offseason could be worse
- Lucas Luetge what Oakland A’s need in bullpen
It also gives an idea as to what the A’s would have needed to give up in order to land Cruz. They would have needed to have parted with a pair of arms that were close to the majors, likely in the upper tier of their prospect list. While neither Ryan nor Strotman were amongst the Rays top ten prospects, that was more of a function of the depth of their farm system than a knock on those players.
For comparison’s sake, that would have been akin to the A’s trading away Daulton Jefferies and A.J. Puk for a rental. Jefferies has the same middle of the rotation ceiling as Ryan, although he has a higher floor. Puk, on the other hand, is damaged goods at this point, but still has the potential to be a strong option in the bullpen.
That price is far more than the A’s would want to pay for any designated hitter type, especially a two month rental. While the A’s could use another bat in their lineup, the cost to acquire one may be far beyond their comfort level. If the return for Cruz is any indication, they will likely make smaller moves at the deadline.
The Oakland A’s missed out on adding Nelson Cruz to their lineup. Considering the cost to acquire him, it was for the best.