Rays Sign Juan Cruz to a Minor League Deal | The Process Report

Rays Sign Juan Cruz to a Minor League Deal


I don’t really have much to add because Tommy wrote about Cruz back in October:

Cruz experienced a steep decline across the board in 2009. His ERA and FIP both jumped up around 5.00, while his strikeouts were nearly cut in half to 6.37 per nine. His walks remained steady (in a bad way) and his velocity dipped about a half-mile per hour.

Whether this had anything to do with his 2009 numbers or not, Cruz’s 2010 season was cut short after just 5.1 innings. The Royals released him in late April and he underwent season ending surgery to remove a cyst on his shoulder a few weeks later. Early reports indicated he would be ready to pitch in time for winter ball.

With all that said, here is what we have…

The Pros: past success as a reliever, swing and miss stuff (11% career whiff rate), cheap, plus a working relationship with his agent Alan Nero (Joe Maddon, Akinori Iwamura).

The Cons: high career walk rate, coming off arm injury, not adept to handle batters of both hands.

The Rays have taken a risk on injured relievers in the past (Balfour, Troy Percival, Joaquin Benoit, Jason Isringhausen, Al Reyes, etc.) as well as pitchers with control flaws (Benoit and Balfour). The one thing we do not know is how his medical records check out, but the Rays’ medical staff is one of the best in the business.

Looking at all the factors in play, a healthy Juan Cruz fits the profile of becoming the next low-risk/potential reward signing for the Rays.

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