Juan Cruz signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies last month, but failed to report to camp yesterday because of what general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. called a “miscommunication issue.”
It must have been one helluva miscommunication, because Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that Cruz and the Phillies have agreed to “mutually rescind” his contract–which was never officially signed because he didn’t take a physical exam–and the 34-year-old reliever is now a free agent again.
Cruz’s deal included an invitation to spring training and an opt-out clause that allowed him to leave the organization if he wasn’t in the majors by June 1, but apparently he was pessimistic about his odds of making the team after the Phillies signed Chad Durbin. Last season the Pirates released Cruz in August despite a 2.78 ERA in 36 innings because he refused an assignment to the minors.
Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.
There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.
As for Reed, well, who knows.