What a day to be a sports fan in Kansas City! Our neighbors at Arrowhead traded for a quarterback and linebacker, and the Royals just made an impact acquisition of their own by signing free agent right-hander Juan Cruz to a two-year deal with a club option for 2011. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated infielder Esteban German for assignment.
Cruz, 30, joins the Royals after three successful seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 6-foot-2 right-hander was 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 57 appearances in 2008. In 51.2 innings, Cruz fanned 71 batters while allowing 34 hits and 31 walks. He posted 12.37 strikeouts per nine innings, leading all N.L. relievers and ranking second in baseball to Tampa’s Grant Balfour (12.65 K’s/9).
A veteran of eight Major League seasons after making his debut for the Cubs in 2001 as a 23-year old, Cruz has recorded a 29-31 career record with a 4.00 ERA in 297 outings, including 38 starts. He has recorded 535 strikeouts in 515.0 career innings for the Cubs (2001-03), Braves (2004), Athletics (2005) and Diamondbacks (2006-08). Since making his debut in 2001, the right-hander has struck out 9.35 batters per nine innings, the 10th-best ratio in all of baseball. Teammate Kyle Farnsworth (10.13 K’s/9) ranks sixth. Cruz has pitched in the postseason with the Cubs (2003), Braves (2004), and Diamondbacks (2007).
Born in Bonao, Dominican Republic, Cruz still resides in his hometown with his wife, Leonarda. We welcome Juan and Leonarda to Kansas City!