MINNEAPOLIS — Nelson Cruz is 41 years old but he hasn't shown any signs of slowing up.
Cruz was just voted into his seventh-career All-Star Game and his first since 2018.
The Twins are 11 games under .500 and they could be sellers at the trade deadline barring a surge to begin the second half. Cruz has been a significant bright spot for Minnesota this year.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cruz is now the oldest player in MLB history to lead a team in hits, home runs and runs batted in at the All-Star Break.
Cruz has 83 hits, 18 homers and 46 RBIs at the midway point of the season. He's also batting .304
With those stats, Cruz could be a valuable piece as a designated hitter for an American League team trying to content in the second half.
Cruz's name has popped up as a potential trade deadline mover this year along with several other players we just saw play in the All-Star Game as teams in playoff contention give their annual stirring to the rumor mill.
Other names popping up on the rumor mill as potential deadline movers include All-Stars Joey Gallo, Kyle Gibson, German Marquez, Trevor Story, Bryan Reynolds and possibly even Max Scherzer.
Candidates for Cruz include several teams, but most glaringly the Oakland Athletics, who are sitting 3.5 games back of the Astros for the division and in the second Wild Card slot as it stands.
"It's the same old Nelson Cruz, he's one of the best hitters in the American League...The power, the clutch ability, hitting in huge spots, he just does it all," Walker said on Locked On Twins. "I think it does come down to a couple teams. I think it's Tampa. I think it's Oakland and potentially Toronto."
It's hard to gauge what the trade price would be for Cruz as a 41-year-old designated hitter who can only play in one league, so it may depend on what kind of offers Minnesota can field. But Jason Burke of Locked On A's said on the show, Cruz is who Oakland should want.
"I think (the Athletics) need to make a move and Nelson Cruz has been bandied about for weeks and now he's the target that A's fans want," Burke said.
Nelson Cruz would fit into Oakland's designated hitter spot really well. Mitch Moreland has occupied that spot but is batting just .238 with only six homers and 22 RBI's on the year. Cruz would immediately add significant power to a lineup that already ranks in the top 10 in home runs.
"I think about Laureano, Canha, Olson, Chapman and Cruz, I mean that's a top five that rivals any at that point," Walker said.
Check out Tuesday's episode of the Locked On Twins podcast to hear other trade scenarios Walker and Burke discussed. Listen for free wherever you get your podcasts.
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