The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired designated hitter Nelson Cruz in a four-player trade with the Minnesota Twins.

Minnesota is sending Cruz and minor-league pitcher Calvin Faucher to the Rays for a pair of talented minor-league pitchers in Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman.

Cruz knew there was a possibility that he would be traded after the Twins fell out of playoff contention. Yet, it was still shocking to be traded away from an organization he’s come to liked in two and a half seasons.

“We thought we should be in the playoff race,” Cruz explained. “Never thought we should be in this situation. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. You never want to leave the places where you are, where you feel comfortable. It is what it is. That’s part of the business.”

“It’s a tough one,” Cruz continued. “I guess it’s a new chapter, and I will embrace it the way I embrace everything in my life to go help the Tampa Bay Rays to win a championship.”

Tampa Bay entered Thursday trailing the Boston Red Sox by one game in the American League East. They currently hold the top wild-card spot.

The 41-year-old slugger is having a great season despite his age. He’s batting .294/.370/.537 with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs in 85 games. He earned his seventh All-Star selection and has finished in the top 10 of MVP voting in each of the past two seasons. Cruz’s arrival in Tampa will help them against left-handed pitching. The Rays are currently hitting .226 versus lefties.

A 17-year veteran, Cruz signed a one-year, $13 million deal with Minnesota in February and is set to become a free agent later this year.

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