Thursday, April 29, 2010

Juan Cruz to the Cubs?

Over the past week, the Kansas City Royals have taken the steps required to release blog favorite Juan Cruz. Fangraphs' R.J. Anderson raises some good points, while wondering aloud why the Royals made this move.

From R.J.'s post:
"So far this season, he’s appeared in five games, pitched five innings, and the strikeouts have been there. The walks have too, mind you, but his FIP to date is 2.66. Heck, even his ERA is a solid 3.38. Cruz’s velocity is slightly down – from 94 MPH to 93.2 – but I don’t see that as an issue.

-snip-

Maybe he’s unhealthy, or maybe he’s a huge jerk. I don’t really know."
I love Anderson's writing because he's direct, and he'll throw things in like maybe he's a jerk; I don't know.

I've been a fan of Juan Cruz since he made his Major League debut with the Cubs, as a starting pitcher, on August 21, 2001. That season, he started all eight (8) games he appeared in and finished with a nice 3-1 record and 3.22 ERA. He showed the ability to miss bats, and looked like a poor man's Pedro. As a Cubs fan in 2001, you can imagine the excitement of having the 22-year old version of a poor man's Pedro Martinez.

In 2001, Pedro was the reigning CY Young Award winner, having won it 3 of the last 4 years, and finished the 2000 season with an incredible 1.74 ERA. And, those were prime steroid years.

The important thing to remember is that no-one knows the player like #1 the player himself, and #2 his team. Maybe the Royals did have a good reason to tell Cruz to take his 93 MPH fastball and 3.38 ERA home, while they keep paying him. As R.J. wrote, maybe he's hurt.

If all it takes from the Cubs is a minimum salary to sign Cruz, they need to pick him up. Their bullpen is in such a catastrophic state that Lou Piniella used their futility as the reason to move the $91,500,000 Carlos Zambrano into the bullpen.

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