The Rays basically started over in the bullpen for 2011. They lost familiar names like Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour and short term additions, Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano. They plugged the holes with some good young talent and more attractively priced free agents.
One of those free agents was Juan Cruz. The reliever had spent the last 10 seasons with five different teams before signing with the Rays for 850,000 dollars. It was one of the ho-hum moves made to fill the roster and Cruz performed fairly well. He saw action in 56 games last year and did not lose a game, finishing 5-0. Opponents batted just .167 against him with runners on base and in 48 and two thirds innings pitched, Cruz recorded 46 strikeouts.
Would someone else come in and sign Cruz? Possibly, everybody needs some bullpen help and Cruz can fill a spot for a lot of clubs. By the numbers he looks like an average reliever who sometimes has control issues. There seemed like a fair amount of times where Cruz came in with runners on base and couldn’t keep them from scoring. He didn’t create many of his own problems but he didn’t close the door on the ones he inherited all the time either. If you get him for a deal, then bring him back, otherwise Cruz will surely find his way onto someone else’s roster.