Juan Cruz signs minor league contract with Phillies

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Juan Cruz has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Phillies, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Last offseason Cruz signed with the Pirates on a minor-league contract and was released in August despite posting a 2.78 ERA in 36 innings at age 33. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was much less impressive at 33-to-19, but he’s had an ERA below 4.00 in five of the past six seasons and could be a useful middle reliever in Philadelphia.

Cruz’s deal includes an invitation to spring training. Last year he refused to pitch in the minors, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens if he doesn’t win an Opening Day gig.

Rays acquire Wilmer Font from Athletics

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In a less-notable move on Friday, the Rays acquired right-hander Wilmer Font from the Athletics in exchange for minor league right-hander Peter Bayer. Font was designated for assignment by the A’s on Wednesday.

This is the second trade involving the righty since the start of the season. The Athletics acquired 28-year-old Font from the Dodgers in late April, but were underwhelmed by his performance after he racked up 11 runs, five home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts in his first 6 2/3 innings of relief. While the rookie has yet to prove himself at the big league level, he posted a much more respectable pitching line with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, going 10-8 in 25 starts with a 3.42 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 in 134 1/3 innings. It’s still unclear whether the Rays intend to give him another opportunity in the majors this year or use him as depth in the minors.

Bayer, 24, is still a ways away from cracking any major league roster. He advanced to High-A Charlotte prior to the trade and allowed eight runs, two homers, six walks and six strikeouts in his first four innings.