Juan Cruz Rumors

Juan Cruz Hits Free Agency

The Phillies and Juan Cruz have mutually decided to rescind their agreement, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports (Twitter link). The right-handed Praver/Shapiro client is now a free agent.

The Phillies signed Cruz to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training last month. He spent the 2012 season with the Pirates, posting a 2.78 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 35 2/3 innings before getting designated for assignment. The 34-year-old had signed a one-year, $1.25MM contract with Pittsburgh leading up to the 2012 season.

Cruz never formally signed his contract with the Phillies, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes (on Twitter). The sides agreed there wasn't a fit following the Phillies' deal with Chad Durbin.

Phillies Sign Juan Cruz

The Phillies have signed right-hander Juan Cruz to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Praver/Shapiro represents the 34-year-old veteran.

Cruz's 2012 season came to a premature ending when the Pirates designated the reliever for assignment in August and Cruz refused to pitch in the minors, thus leading to his release. The journeyman did show signs of effectiveness as he posted a 2.78 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 over 35.2 innings.

Pirates Release Juan Cruz

The Pirates released Juan Cruz after he cleared waivers and refused an assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis, according to the Sports Network (via the Miami Herald). The Pirates had designated the veteran right-hander for assignment earlier in the week.

Though Cruz pitched effectively for Pittsburgh, the Pirates needed fresh arms following Sunday's 19-inning game against the Cardinals. The 33-year-old appeared in 43 games for the Pirates, posting a 2.78 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 35 2/3 innings. He signed a one-year, $1.25MM contract with the team this past offseason.

Quick Hits: Melky, Cruz, Red Sox, Cardinals

Four teams have at least a 98% chance of reaching the postseason this year, according to Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds Report. The Yankees, Rangers, Nationals and Reds look like playoff teams now, but they all saw what happened to the Braves and Red Sox last year, so I doubt any contending teams intend on coasting from this point on. Here are today’s links...

  • The chances that Melky Cabrera will appear in a potential postseason game or re-sign with the Giants this offseason are "close to nil," according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle
  • Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters, including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that the team wouldn't attempt to retain Juan Cruz if he clears waivers (Twitter link). The Bucs have younger players who have passed Cruz, according to Hurdle. Cruz was designated for assignment earlier today.
  • The Red Sox "weren't trying very hard" to trade Josh Beckett before the non-waiver trade deadline, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The Rangers and Braves are believed to be among the teams that spoke to Boston's executives about Beckett, Heyman writes. One unnamed GM said "Boston's first priority has to be to trade Josh Beckett'' this August. Another executive suggested the Rangers could make sense for Beckett, who would have to be placed on waivers to be traded this month.
  • The Cardinals signed 16-year-old right-hander Ronald Medrano, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Medrano has touched 90-91 mph with his fastball and has shown good feel for his secondary pitches. He had been considered one of the top Nicaraguan prospects available, according to Badler.
  • Nationals first rounder Lucas Giolito re-injured his pitching elbow and will be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, ESPN.com's Keith Law reports. Giolito, who was at one point a candidate to be selected first overall, signed for $2.925MM after the Nationals drafted him 16th overall in June.

Pirates Designate Juan Cruz For Assignment

The Pirates announced that they designated reliever Juan Cruz for assignment. They placed Jordy Mercer on the paternity list and recalled right-hander Kyle McPherson and left-hander Justin Wilson in related moves.

Though Cruz pitched effectively for Pittsburgh, the Pirates needed fresh arms following yesterday's 19-inning game against the Cardinals. The 33-year-old appeared in 43 games for the Pirates, posting a 2.78 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 35 2/3 innings. He signed a one-year, $1.25MM contract with the team this past offseason. 

Quick Hits: Beltran, Angels, Mercedes, Cruz

The Nationals reinstated Michael Morse from the disabled list today in a move that should help the team score a few more runs. Morse hit 31 homers and posted a .910 OPS last year, so he should help a Nationals offense that ranks 13th out of the 16 NL teams in scoring. Here are today's links...

Pirates Place Juan Cruz On Restricted List

The Pirates announced that they placed right-hander Juan Cruz on the restricted list so he can return to the Dominican Republic and attend to some personal business. The club has selected the contract of Doug Slaten from Triple-A in a related move.

Cruz, 33, signed a one-year, $1.25MM contract in February and has a 1.45 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 18 2/3 innings so far this year. Players on the restricted list do not count toward a team's 25-man or 40-man roster. They do not accrue service time and they don't always get paid.

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.

Olney On Shortstops, Juan Cruz, Mets

The latest from the blog of ESPN's Buster Olney...

  • Olney muses on who the Giants might look at as a midseason acquisition if Miguel Tejada does not work out at shortstop.  He comes up with Jose Reyes, Marco Scutaro, and Jack Wilson as possible trade candidates.  I can see Stephen Drew, J.J. Hardy, and Ronny Cedeno as other possibilities.
  • Evaluators tell Olney Rays reliever Juan Cruz looks excellent.  Apparently recovered from shoulder surgery, Cruz has allowed one run in eight spring innings.  He's whiffed nine and allowed only two hits, but also walked seven.
  • The Mets intend to keep Rule 5 picks Brad Emaus and Pedro Beato, according to Olney.  With Justin Turner being cut today, Emaus certainly appears to be the second base starter.  Joel Sherman of the New York Post digs into the Mets' logic with Emaus here.  The infielder, 25 on Monday, hit .298/.395/.495 at Triple-A last year.

Rays Sign Juan Cruz

The Rays have signed right-handed reliever Juan Cruz to a minor league deal, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.

After a successful three-year stint with the Diamondbacks from 2006-08, Cruz signed a two-year deal worth $5.5MM with the Royals prior to the 2009 season. However, Cruz never found his form in Kansas City. He was released in April 2010 and underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in May.

Still, the Rays continue a solid offseason with another low-risk, high-reward signing, bringing in a reliever in Cruz, 32, who has a career ERA of 4.15 and averaged 9.1 K/9.

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