The Royals have signed veteran relief pitcher Juan Cruz to a 2 year, $6 million contract. Included in the deal is a club option for a third year as well. To make room on the 40-man roster the Royals designated Esteban German for assignment which gives the club 10 days to trade or release him. I'm sure some Royals fans are now rejoicing, but I'm wondering why it wasn't Ross Gload who was cut?
An eight year major league veteran, Cruz went 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA last season with 71 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings. Yeah, as you can see the dude cooks with gas. That's some serious punch out ability. For his career Cruz is 29-31 with a 4.00 ERA. He has spent the past three seasons with the Diamondbacks. Cruz has also notably pitched for the Athletics, Cubs, and Braves throughout his career.
There are some side notes with this signing. Assuming the Royals can't trade German within the allotted 10 days they will owe him $197,000 in separation pay. Also, the club will now surrender their second-round draft pick for signing Cruz, who is a Type A free agent. Normally, Type A free agents require the signing team to surrender a first-round draft choice, but teams that pick in the top 12 of the first-round are only required to give up their second rounder and the team that loses the player will receive a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds.
Finally, the Royals will pay $2.25 million to Cruz this season, so as you can obviously see, they have gone above their $70 million payroll originally scheduled for the 2009 season. This is a potentially huge signing for the club and helps shore up the void left by the trades of Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez this winter. In fact, Cruz is better than either one of those pitchers.