Minnesota Twins: Ranking the 5 Most Valuable Trade Chips to Move
By Otto Johnson
Minnesota Twins Trade Chip No. 2: Nelson Cruz
Return: A Top 10 organizational prospect and a mid-level prospect
What? Nelson Cruz, considered one of baseball’s best players, not the most valuable trade chip? If you stop and think about it, it’s definitely not a surprise. As good of a hitter as Cruz has been over his career, as much postseason experience as he’s had, he’s still a designated hitter, limiting his options.
First off, there are only 15 teams in the American League. When you eliminate the teams under .500, you’re left with just eight. When you take out the Yankees (Giancarlo Stanton), Red Sox (J.D. Martinez), Cleveland (Franmil Reyes), and Houston (Yordan Alvarez), you’re left with the Rays, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Oakland.
That’s a very limited group, making it tough to find a buyer. With that being said, Nelson Cruz is slashing .288/.363/.538 with 12 homers and 30 RBI. He’s not quite as good as he was last year, but he’s still one of the three best designated hitters in baseball.
If the Twins do decide to move him, they’d be losing their most consistent clubhouse leader and best hitter, probably for very little compared to his value to the team. They had to make a similar call with Brian Dozier a few years ago too. Sometimes it’s best to make the right move for the future and find more playing time for the youngsters.
In any case, Cruz would still land a Top 10 prospect (from that system, not overall) and a little more as well. If he keeps hitting like he has recently, that value might go higher. The Twins should take advantage of that, rather than lose him for nothing this offseason.