Juan Cruz is back in business.
According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the Rays have inked the 32-year-old reliever to a minor league contract.
Cruz made it through only five appearances with the Royals last season before his shoulder gave out and he was forced to undergo season-ending surgery. He’s all healed now, but he may have to do some proving in the minor leagues before the Rays trust him in the big league bullpen.
Cruz, a righty, posted a rough 5.72 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 46 appearances in 2009, his last full season. He did have some success as a setup man in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen from 2006-2008. There might be something left.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.