Pirates Sign Juan Cruz

The Pirates signed reliever Juan Cruz to a minor league deal with a spring training invite, the team announced.

Cruz, 33, posted a 3.88 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 5.2 BB/9, 0.92 HR/9, and 35.2% groundball rate for the Rays last year in 48 2/3 innings.  Cruz missed time in July with a groin strain, and his average fastball velocity dipped below 93 miles per hour for the first time in his career.  Pirates GM Neal Huntington may be hoping Cruz can match the contribution of another wild right-handed Praver/Shapiro client he signed to a minor league deal a year ago.  Jose Veras gave the Bucs 71 innings of 3.80 ball in 2011 for a total of $1.35MM, and was traded to the Brewers for Casey McGehee after the season.

Cruz will compete for a bullpen job with other non-roster invitees such as Michael Crotta, Ryota Igarashi, Logan Kensing, Shairon Martis, Jo-Jo Reyes, Doug Slaten, and Tim Wood.

19 Responses to Pirates Sign Juan Cruz Leave a Reply

  1. mike melusky 3 years ago

    LOL at the Phillies who gave a ML deal to Chad Qualls yesterday.

    • FillyPhan 3 years ago

      Difference is Qualls has pitch the most relief innings in the last 7 years with a lower ERA, this guy pitched 5 innings in 2010.

      I do agree that at this point contracts shouldnt be MLB guaranteed.

      • mike melusky 3 years ago

        Qualls also was lucky enough to call Petco Park his home last year.  If you look at home/road splits, Qualls wasn’t too good outside of Petco park (to the tune of a 5.10 ERA.)  Cruz was essentially the same pitcher whether he pitched home or away.

      • faceforest 3 years ago

        Guy was pretty good for the Rays last year though.

  2. Onetimeaccount 3 years ago

    Odd. Seems like Cruz could have easily gotten a ML deal.

  3. formerdraftpick 3 years ago

    Looks like the Pirates Juan-ted Cruz and got em.

  4. FillyPhan 3 years ago

    Wow surprising a guy who went 5-0 last year on an MLB team cant get a job this season.

  5. bigpat 3 years ago

    Interesting. He is always a coin flip though. Incredible stuff, but a lot of times he just can’t find the plate. Certainly a nice move on a minor league contract, he will be needed at some point for sure.

  6. johnsilver 3 years ago

    Astonishing.. Then Wheeler ended up with a minor deal/invite to ST also..

    Harder and harder to figure out who gets major league deals for relievers.

    Could Shaky Gonzalez even end up getting “stuck” with something like this?

    • mike melusky 3 years ago

      Some team will give Mike Gonzalez a ML deal, since he can essentially shut down left-handed hitting.

    • bigpat 3 years ago

      I’d take him back in Pittsburgh no problem. If someone uses him as a LOOGY, they’d get some quality work out of him. K rate is still very strong and he’s hell on lefties. Yanks and Rangers still need a LHP out of the pen.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         How I feel about Gonzalez also, then felt the same about wheeler on a MLB deal for the amount he settled for (800k) and it was just a minor league deal with a ST invite.

        Wheeler was good the last 2/3 of the season, after a rugged start. Can’t see a real difference between Gonzalez and the injury he had and the Cuz situation really and they got minor league deals. Why said the reliever situation has been hard to figure out this off season.

  7. Blue387 3 years ago

    This looks like a good pick by the Pirates.

  8. JST1331 3 years ago

    Great move by the Pirates here. Wouldn’t mind if the Phillies got him but not needed at this point as we got Qualls. Is it me or does it seem like relievers are getting screwed over this year compared to last year? 

    • ericc123 3 years ago

      I’d say it’s the opposite.  I think they are getting screwed BECAUSE of last off-season.  Most of the time relievers are so up and down teams are leery of crazy money unless you are a top of the game shut down closer.  Last year was the exception and I think a lot of teams don’t want to repeat that.

  9. stewie75 3 years ago

    i always liked juan cruz when he was on the cubs. they wanted him to be pedro but if they’d have just stuck him in the pen from the beginning, he could’ve been really useful all these years. him and Z came up together and both were hyped pretty hard at the time.

  10. I dig this trade. Good to get a quality lefty at an affordable rate, any day.

  11. SteelchucK 3 years ago

    Once again the Buccos should have a solid bulpen…now if their starters can come thru for the WHOLE season we might get into that one-game playoff…then who knows after that!

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