Pirates Sign Juan Cruz To Minor League Deal

Juan Cruz is a 33-year old RHP who appeared in 56 games with the Tampa Rays last year, pitching 48.2 innings with a 3.88 ERA. He struck out 46 and walked 28. Cruz has always put up good K/9 numbers, but control has been a problem throughout his career, as demonstrated by his 4.8 BB/9. Cruz's fastball velocity averaged 92.8 MPH last year and he threw it 42 percent of the time. He also throws a cutter (30 percent last year), slider (20 percent) and change (8 percent). Cruz is the 20th non-roster invitee to spring training.

Cruz broke into the majors with the Cubs in 2001 at age 22 and has also pitched for the Braves, A's, Diamondbacks and Royals in addition to the Rays. This seems like a very low-risk signing that will provide additional relief depth. With the bullpen the apparent strength of the major league team, it's curious that Neal Huntington hasn't supplemented the starting rotation in a similar fashion. At least not yet.

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