Minnesota Twins Trade Deadline Move No. 3: Trading DH Nelson Cruz and RHP Calvin Faucher for RHP Joe Ryan and RHP Drew Strotman
The first move that the Twins made in deadline season feels like forever ago, with the team shipping out Nelson Cruz last Thursday. While it always hurts to trade away a beloved clubhouse leader and elite hitter, the Twins got a solid return given the circumstances.
For starters, Cruz is 41, can only play as the designated hitter, and is scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the year. That severely limited the Twins’ options. Bringing back two solid Triple-AAA starters and only adding on a low-level reliever can’t have been easy.
Joe Ryan is the main prize in this trade. He may be 25, but he’s shown everything you want to see out of a future starter. High strikeout numbers, limits walks, and has two strong pitches and is working on his curveball and changeup to have a solid four-pitch mix.
Ryan also has the added benefit of being the ace for the U.S. Olympic team, so Twins fans can see him before he even pitches an inning for the farm system. It’ll be a good preview, because he should see the Major League field in 2021.
Drew Strotman checks in as the Twins’ No. 15 prospect, but make no mistake: he can end up as a solid starter. He’s 24, and missed large chunks of time due to Tommy John surgery, but he’s appeared to successfully have recovered from that and could be a good starter.
He has a five-pitch mix and was in the midst of a strong season at Triple-AAA. I wonder if he may end up more in a long reliever role, especially given the starting pitching prospects the team has ahead of him, but he definitely has the ability.
Bringing back both Strotman and Ryan for Cruz is a big win for the Twins, and if even one of them ends ends up in the rotation for a couple seasons, this trade is a huge win. The only negative is both pitchers don’t have a ton of upside, but that’s nitpicking at best.