Royals acquire catcher Tony Cruz from Cardinals


One day after signing Brayan Pena to be catcher Yadier Molina‘s new backup the Cardinals have traded Molina’s old backup, Tony Cruz, to the Royals for minor leaguer Jose Martinez.

Cruz played sparingly as Molina’s understudy, totaling 633 plate appearances in five seasons and topping out at 151 trips to the plate in 2015. He also hit terribly, posting a .220 batting average and .572 OPS while homering just five times and drawing 32 walks compared to 117 strikeouts.

There’s really nothing in Cruz’s track record to suggest he’s anything but a very bad hitter, but he’ll still be an upgrade for the Royals because the man he’s replacing as Salvador Perez‘s backup, Drew Butera, is one of the worst hitters in MLB history.

Molina was the most durable, never-on-the-bench catcher in baseball for many years and now Perez holds that title, so say what you will about Cruz but he certainly has a knack for finding homes where he won’t be required to actually play much.

Marlins give Don Mattingly two-year extension

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The Marlins have announced that they have inked manager Don Mattingly to a two-year contract extensions. There’s a third year in the form of a mutual option.

Mattingly is finishing up the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Marlins prior to the 2016 season. He’s 272-364 in that period and the club has lost 99 games already this season. The current bad run, however, obviously corresponds with a massive rebuild the team began undertaking following the 2017 season and the team’s change in ownership. Mattingly has not had much to work with over the past two seasons but he has likewise, largely, kept the team on as even a keel as one could hope under the circumstances. He has certainly impressed the Marlins’ brass enough to take the unusual step of keeping on a manager they inherited from a previous ownership and front office group.

In other news, the Marlins also announced a two-year contract extension for shortstop Miguel Rojas valued at $10.25 million. There’s a vesting option for a third year. The deal buys out Rojas’ final year of arbitration eligibility and one year of free agency, plus that option.

Rojas, 30, is hitting .285/.335/.383 (OPS+ 92) this year.