3 Rays players who won’t be back next season

Oct 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash (16) checks on relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks (29) during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2021 ALDS at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash (16) checks on relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks (29) during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2021 ALDS at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays were shockingly eliminated by the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. These three players will not be back next season.

Throughout the 2021 regular-season, the Tampa Bay Rays solidified their status as the best team in the American League, as evidenced by their 100-62 record. They were expected to make a return trip to the World Series, and had the talent to potentially win the Commissioner’s Trophy for the first-time in franchise history.

Instead, the Rays were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS in four games after Kike Hernandez walked things off on Monday night. The Rays could not find a way to get past the red-hot Red Sox, who had just eliminated the rival New York Yankees in the Wild Card round.

Now, the Rays will have to focus on finding a way to make it to the Fall Classic in 2022. Here are three players who likely won’t return to the team next season.

Nelson Cruz

The Rays, looking for a power bat to add to their lineup, gave the Minnesota Twins a call at the MLB trade deadline and acquired veteran Nelson Cruz.

Upon joining Tampa Bay, Cruz was not as productive at the plate as he was during his 85 games with the Twins this season. Through 55 contests, Cruz slashed .226/.283/.442 while recording 13 home runs, 36 RBI and 49 hits. Cruz struggled in the ALDS against the Red Sox, as he was 3-for-17 at the plate, including one home run and one RBI.

Cruz is set to become a free agent this winter, and the Rays are notorious for not spending money in the offseason. Given that and Cruz’s stats in his limited stint in Tampa Bay, it would be surprising if he were to return.

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