Juan Cruz signs minor-league contract with Pirates

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Juan Cruz is the latest veteran reliever forced to settle for a minor-league contract in a buyer’s market, signing with the Pirates for a deal that includes an invitation to spring training.

Cruz is 33 years old, but was plenty effective for the Rays last season with a 3.88 ERA and 46/28 K/BB ratio in 49 innings.

His career numbers are skewed by a rough beginning as a starter, but Cruz has a 3.77 ERA and 249 strikeouts in 217 innings since moving to the bullpen full time in 2007. His velocity has dipped somewhat in recent years, but he still averaged 92.8 miles per hour with his fastball last season.

Angels sign Chris Young to one-year deal

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The Angels went on a Chris binge yesterday. In addition to signing Chris Carter to a minor league deal they signed Chris Young — the outfielder Chris Young, not the pitcher Chris Young — to a one-year contract. Young will make $2 million with incentives that could make the pact more valuable.

Young, 34, hit .235/.322/.387 with seven home runs in a part-time role last season with the Red Sox. He’s historically been a plus defender and has handled all three outfield positions in the past, but he’s really a corner guy/platoon DH these days. Not that the Angels need a center fielder. Rumor has it that they have a pretty decent one.