Nelson Cruz trade rumors: Tampa Bay Rays
Okay, fine, I’ll just come out and say it: Nelson Cruz would fit nicely in the lineup of all of his former teams.
The Rays are another interesting choice, as heading into the season they were not expected to be better than the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Yet, here they are, in second place behind the Yankees and currently in possession of a Wild Card spot, although that could very easily change before all is said and done.
Their lineup does not feature much insurance behind Wander Franco. Brandon Lowe and Randy Arozarena, two players widely expected to be key figures on this team, have struggled out of the gate. Not to mention that there is no clear designated hitter in this lineup. Yandy Diaz is in line to get more starts at DH with Taylor Walls emerging as a third base option, while Ji-Man Choi and Harold Ramirez are also on-hand to play DH. None of these names come close to the production that they could (potentially) get from Nelson Cruz.
Cruz spent the second half of the 2021 season on the Rays and while he did manage to hit 13 home runs and post an OPS+ of 102, his strikeout numbers were elevated and he posted lower slash-line numbers than he had since his first few years in the league.
Should Cruz be able to turn things around and prove all naysayers wrong, he would be an excellent (re)addition to this club, giving them a true power threat in the heart of their lineup as they continue their push to the AL East division title.