Luis Cruz Rumors

Luis Cruz Signs With Chiba Lotte Marines

TODAY: The deal will actually pay Cruz $850k, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, and includes $150k in incentives.

YESTERDAYInfielder Luis Cruz has signed with Nippon Professional Baseball's Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, the team announced on its web site (Japanese link passed along by Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times on Twitter). According to a report from the Associated Press (via ESPN), Cruz will earn $750K on a one-year deal.

Cruz provided a surprising spark to the 2012 Dodgers when he batted a healthy .297/.332/.431 with six homers and 20 doubles in 296 plate appearances, proving to be one of the better minor league pickups of that season. However, his production took a nosedive in 2013, and he slashed just .145/.190/.179 in 187 plate appearances between the Dodgers and Yankees. A client of John Boggs & Associates, Cruz will turn 30 years old in February.


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Yankees Release Luis Cruz

MONDAY: The Yankees have released Cruz, according to the MLB.com Transactions page.

FRIDAY: The Yankees have designated infielder Luis Cruz for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for the newly signed Mark Reynolds, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter). The Yankees optioned right-hander Preston Claiborne to Triple-A to open up a 25-man roster spot, Hoch adds.

The 29-year-old Cruz hit just .145/.190/.179 in 187 plate appearances between the Dodgers and Yankees this season, just one year removed from an impressive .297/.322/.431 effort with Los Angeles in 2012. Cruz had been on the disabled list with a knee sprain since July 24 prior to his DFA.


Yankees Sign Luis Cruz

The Yankees announced that they have signed infielder Luis Cruz.  The veteran is represented by John Boggs & Associates, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.

Cruz, appeared in 45 games this season with the Dodgers before being designated for assignment on June 28th.  The 29-year-old made 30 starts for L.A., 20 at third base and ten at shortstop, but had an abysmal .344 OPS in 128 plate appearances.  For his big league career, Cruz has a .240/.277/.328 slash line, but he is valued more for his defense than his bat.  The veteran boasts a career 25.6 UZR/150 at third base and 10.8 UZR/150 at shortstop.



Minor Moves: Zavada, Cruz, Kimball, Laffey, Pauley

Today's minor moves…

  • The Padres have purchased left-hander Clay Zavada from the independent league Gary SouthShore RailCats, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Zavada had a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings for the RailCats. The former Diamondback was known more for his mustache than his pitching in 2009, but he posted a 3.35 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 51 innings for the D-Backs that year. Brock tweets that Zavada will report to Double-A.
  • Luis Cruz has refused an outright assignment to Triple-A and elected free agency, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times (Twitter links). Cruz, who was designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and can sign with any team. He hit just .127/.175/.169 in 128 plate appearances for the Dodgers this season — a far cry from the solid .297/.322/.431 line he posted in 296 plate appearances last season.
  • The Nationals announced that they have outrighted right-hander Cole Kimball off the 40-man roster (Twitter link). The 27-year-old has appeared in just four minor league innings for the Nats this season and hasn't pitched with the big league club since 2011.
  • Aaron Laffey has opted out of his minor league deal with the Dodgers, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has confirmed the move. Laffey, 28, has a 5.61 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 61 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque this season. He also allowed 10 runs in 12 2/3 innings between the Mets and Blue Jays at the MLB level.
  • Righty David Pauley was released by the Diamondbacks' Triple-A club on Saturday, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page.  Pauley had joined them on a minor league deal on June 10th, but the 30-year-old struggled in four relief appearances.  Pauley was originally drafted by the Padres in '01, three picks before the Red Sox took Kevin Youkilis.  Pauley was later a minor piece in Dave Dombrowski's July 2011 heist of the Mariners, in which the Tigers acquired Doug Fister.
  • Six players are currently in DFA limbo: Francisley Bueno of the Royals, Eric Hinske of the Diamondbacks, Alex Liddi of the Mariners, Clayton Mortensen of the Red Sox, Travis Ishikawa of the Orioles and Jeff Francoeur of the Royals.

Dodgers Designate Luis Cruz For Assignment

The Dodgers have designated infielder Luis Cruz for assignment, the team announced on Twitter. In a corresponding move, the club reinstated outfielder Scott Van Slyke from the 15-day DL. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter), Cruz's agent says that he has not yet decided whether he would accept a minor league assignment by the Dodgers if he clears waivers.

The 29-year-old Cruz entered the season looking to seize the opportunity presented by the Dodgers' opening at third and an injury to shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Instead of building on his solid 2012, in which he posted a .297/.322/.431 line in 296 plate appearances, Cruz struggled from the get-go. He currently sports an anemic .127/.175/.169 triple-slash across 128 plate appearances. As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times noted on Twitter, Cruz is worst in the bigs in each of those categories among hitters with at least 100 at-bats.


Dodgers Notes: Kershaw, League, Ramirez, Cruz

Good news for Dodgers fans as General Manager Ned Colletti confirmed that Clayton Kershaw will not require surgery on his right hip, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  Here's more on what Colletti had to say to reporters with all links going to Hernandez's Twitter..

  • The Dodgers will make a strong effort to re-sign their relievers, including free agent Brandon League (Twitter link).  The former Mariner told reporters yesterday that he has informed the Dodgers that he hopes to return.
  • At this point in time, Colletti is leaning towards Hanley Ramirez playing shortstop in 2013, Hernandez tweets.
  • Meanwhile, the club is heading into the offseason with the idea that Luis Cruz can be the Dodgers' third baseman in 2013 (Twitter link).  Cruz, 28, hit .297/.322/.431 with six homers in 78 games for the Dodgers in 2012.  It would make sense for the Dodgers to look in-house for an answer at third with limited options at the position on the open market this winter.
  • Colletti was asked if Juan Uribe has a place on the team in 2013 and the GM responded "We'll have to see," (Twitter link).  To part ways with Uribe, the Dodgers will have to eat the $10.3MM remaining on his deal.

Agency Notes: Luis Cruz, Jake Peavy

Here are the latest agency-related notes from around MLB…

  • Dodgers infielder Luis Cruz hired John Boggs to represent him, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). Boggs also represents Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and a number of others.
  • Numerous agents contacted White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy after he revealed he might hire a new representative, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports (on Twitter). Peavy is still deciding between various options and may end up representing himself this offseason, when he's expected to hit free agency.
  • Here are some related updates from last night. Be sure to check out MLBTR’s Agency Database for details on which agents represent which MLB players.

Dodgers Sign Bard, Ledezma, Castillo, Guzman, More

The Dodgers announced the signing of 15 non-roster players yesterday, reported MLB.com's Ken Gurnick: catcher Josh Bard, lefty reliever Wil Ledezma, lefty reliever Alberto Castillo, righty reliever Angel Guzman, outfielder Cory Sullivan, righty reliever Fernando Nieve, righty reliever Jose Ascanio, righty Ryan Tucker, righty Will Savage, lefty Matt Chico, lefty Scott Rice, corner infielder Jeff Baisley, infielder Lance Zawadzki, and infielder Luis Cruz.

Bard, 33, had 86 plate appearances for the Mariners this year and another 250 in Triple-A.  His signing was first rumored last week at the Winter Meetings.  Ledezma, 30, briefly appeared in the Majors with Toronto this year.  He struck out 64 batters in 48 Triple-A innings as well.  Castillo, a 36-year-old Cuban, tossed 11 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks and a strong 42 1/3 frames at Triple-A.  His near-deal was first reported last week.

Ascanio, 26, appeared briefly in the bigs with the Pirates this year and also whiffed 50 in 44 Triple-A innings.  He was part of the July '09 John Grabow-Tom Gorzelanny trade with the Cubs, but he had labrum surgery in October of that year.  Tucker, 25, is a former first-round pick of the Marlins who pitched five innings with the Rangers this year and 68 1/3 more in Triple-A.  Guzman, Sullivan, Nieve, Chico, Baisley, Zawadzki, and Cruz have also spent time in the Majors.  Guzman, notably, was a successful setup man for the Cubs in '09.


Minor Deals: Swaggerty, Cruz, Brewers, Pirates

Teams are making procedural moves left and right as they finalize their Opening Day rosters. Here's the latest on some minor deals from around the majors…

  • The Royals granted minor league left-hander Ben Swaggerty his release, according to MLB Reports (on Twitter). The 28-year-old has a 3.35 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in four minor league seasons as a reliever.
  • The Rangers signed Luis Cruz after the Brewers released him, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). The infielder is playing short for the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate tonight.
  • The Brewers released a number of minor leaguers besides Cruz and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has all the details.
  • The Pirates are "looking hard" into an external move, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter links). Pittsburgh would like to add pitching.

Quick Hits: Padres, Pirates, Rangers

Links from around the majors as Armando Galarraga makes Arizona's rotation…