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Sign Juan Cruz

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The Royals for some reason released Juan Cruz today. Cruz has the potential to help a battered Pirates pitching staff immediately; he was disappointing last year, but he was a strikeout machine for the Diamondbacks for two years before that, and this year he has struck out seven batters in 5.1 innings, allowing two runs. He did walk four batters and allow a bunch of inherited runners to score, but there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with him, and the Royals make enough bad decisions that I don't think we need to worry much about another shoe dropping here.

Cruz is also the sort of pitcher I would think Neal Huntington would be interested in even if the Pirates' pitching issues weren't so dire--he has electric stuff that he has at times had trouble controlling. The Royals should be on the hook for Cruz's contract minus the league minimum salary, which means that he's essentially free talent. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Bucs pursue Cruz, and I think the two parties have an excellent match of need and opportunity.

UPDATE: This was probably one of my stupider recent posts. Now that we've awoken from the nightmare that is Hayden Penn, the Pirates' bullpen hasn't actually been all that bad. They've had some really poor innings from Joel Hanrahan, but he probably deserves a bit of slack for returning from injury, and he's too interesting to cut anyway. Octavio Dotel and D.J. Carrasco have had poor ERAs, but reasonable peripherals. (Dotel has given up two homers so far, which is bad, but that's more of a sample-size issue than anything else.) Evan Meek has been great and Jack Taschner has actually been fine. That leaves Brendan Donnelly and Javier Lopez, who've both struck out fewer batters than they've walked but have mostly kept runs off the board. I wouldn't object to replacing Lopez with Cruz, but now that I look over things more carefully I'm not sure even that is a slam dunk. Moving Carrasco to the rotation until the Pirates find a legitimate fifth starter is one possibility, but that too is a stretch. Thanks to the commenters who pointed out the error of my ways. I just thought "twenty-run loss-->bad pitching-->free talent." It wasn't any more complex than that. I can do better.