Rays ink reliever Juan Cruz to minor league contract

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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.

Report: White Sox acquire Yonder Alonso from Indians

Yonder Alonso
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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.