Pirates release veteran reliever Juan Cruz

3 Comments

Juan Cruz was plenty useful for the Pirates on a one-year, $1.25 million deal, throwing 36 innings with a 2.78 ERA and 33/19 K/BB ratio, but today they released the 33-year-old reliever.

Cruz was designated for assignment after blowing a save in Sunday’s marathon game against the Cardinals and cleared waivers, at which point he elected to become a free agent rather than reporting to Triple-A.

Cruz didn’t pitched as well as his 2.78 ERA would suggest, but he’s generally been a pretty solid middle reliever over the years and has a 3.42 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 84 innings since the beginning of last season.

Yadier Molina responds to Willson Contreras on Instagram

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”

Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.

Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.

Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.