It’s almost time for the trade deadline! Let’s be honest, Cleveland probably isn’t going to do much by the time the clock strikes midnight on Aug. 1, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be impacted.
The biggest impact on Cleveland’s fortunes — this year, and likely beyond — will be what the Twins choose to do. They currently sit at 40-54, 17 games back of the White Sox in the AL Central, and 13 games back of a potential Wild Card bid. With the clocking ticking and several veterans with dwindling years of control, they’re going to have to make some decisions soon.
At the top of that list is the ageless Nelson Cruz. The 41-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Twins in the offseason to join Minnesota for the third straight season. And he’s still out here crushing baseballs with a .299/.375/.545 slash and 19 home runs.
He’s not quite Miguel Cabrera levels of killing Cleveland pitching, but anecdotally, he always seems to get the most soul-crushing home runs against this team. Since 2015, which includes three seasons in Seattle and the two-and-a-half in Minnesota, he’s hit 16 home runs in 51 games against Cleveland. Seven of those have come at Progressive Field. Every one of them seemingly back-breaking.
I, for one, will be glad to see him out of Minnesota and hopefully the division.
So, with that in mind, I decided to take an unbiased look at what each team could use Nelson Cruz’s services the most for the remainder of the season, and probably for the next decade as he hits home runs into his 50’s. Being that I am a fan of Cleveland, a team that Nelson Cruz has frequently played over his career, you can rest assured I have no motive here. I’m just here for the love of the game.
In short, I believe almost every team could use his services, with a couple of exceptions. Yes, even in the National League. He has plenty of outfield experience under his belt and I bet he could stand at first base pretty well, too.
Let’s break down each team one by one.
Angels - Simply no fit here. Just got rid of Albert Pujols, you don’t want this Nelson Cruz guy.
Astros - Yuli Gurriel is already old and manning first, Michael Brantley is in the outfield already. You play Cleveland a lot. Obviously, you don’t want Nelson Cruz.
Athletics - I don’t see a fit here either. Matt Olson is pretty good. Tony Kemp? More like Tony KeMVPp.
Blue Jays - One word: Vlad Guerro Jr. is really good.
Braves - Here we go, the first big fit for Nelson Cruz. Freddie Freeman? Who the hell is that. Get Nelson Cruz over there to play first base, I bet he’d be great. DFA that Freeman guy if you have to.
Brewers - Oh, yes, absolutely. It’s safe to admit you thought you were acquiring “Joc Pederson” when you signed “Jace Pederson”. Now’s your chance to right that mistake and trade for Cruz. He can even play in the outfield like Joc.
Cardinals - Beautiful fit here. Just think of Cruz in that gorgeous red of the Cardinals. He’ll be doing things the Cardinal way in no time. The Best Fans in Baseball deserve to enjoy Nelson Cruz in the National League, far away from Cleveland. Paul Goldshmidt is almost 34, over the hill. Harrison Bader is clearly an unreplaceable star in the outfield.
Cubs - Everyone thinks you’re rebuilding — why not zig when they expect you to zag? Trade Anthony Rizzo for a closer or something, get Nelson Cruz, and watch him fly the W or whatever.
Diamondbacks - Yes.
Dodgers - Absolutely.
Giants - Can you say “World Series?” Yes, get him. Right now.
Mariners - I would pass if I were the Mariners. Already tried it once, I heard he wasn’t very good. Definitely don’t want him.
Marlins - Definitely. Starling Marte may pass him in the airport on the way to Cleveland.
Mets - Perfect fit. Pete Alonso is just too focused on the Home Run Derby to be your future IMO. Nelson Cruz, in the National League, is the future.
Nationals - Close your eyes and let this wash over you: Juan Soto - Victor Robles - Nelson Cruz. Good, huh?
Orioles - I just don’t see it here. Orioles? Cruz? Doesn’t mesh well.
Padres - Nobody likes Eric Hosmer, let’s just start there. Put Nelson Cruz at first base if you want, or replace Trent Grisham in center field or something, I don’t care.
Pirates - First, you should trade Brayan Reynolds to Cleveland, a team you barely ever play. What harm would it do? Once that’s done, center field is wide open for Nelson Cruz to come in and dominate. How fun.
Phillies - Let Bryce Harper learn from the best out there. Perfect fit.
Rangers - What is this, 2011? Absolutely not.
Rays - No.
Reds - Maybe? But I would probably pass. Consider acquiring him right now and flipping him via the waiver wire sometime before — oh I don’t know just a random date I’m throwing out here, — Aug. 8.
Red Sox - No, sorry. Outfield is already too good, first base and DH are taken with Danny Santana and J.D. Martinez. Both obvious superstars and not at all declining.
Rockies - Yes, oh yes. Perfect. Beautiful. Get him there in that crisp Colorado air and watch him fly.
Royals - Are you kidding me? Look me straight in the eyes as I say this to you. No. Absolutely not. Don’t you dare.
Tigers - Why would you want Nelson Cruz when you have Robbie Grossman, Victor Reyes, and Akil Baddoo in the outfield already? Look elsewhere, you want no piece of this guy.
White Sox - Shut your mouth. You shut your mouth and get out of this thread right now.
Yankees - Sorry, too expensive. He might put you over the luxury cap and we can’t have that.