With the trade market for a veteran set up man looking very thin right now, the Cubs maybe forced to sign a reliever instead of trade for one. And that reliever could be recently released and former Cubs Juan Cruz. As ESPN’s Buster Olney speculated today that the Cubs could “kick the tires” on Cruz.
It was somewhat of a surprise to many that the Royals released Juan Cruz. As through 5 games prior to his release, Cruz posted a respectable 3.38 ERA through 5.1 innings. However, the year before , he struggled as he posted a 5.72 ERA in 50.1 innings pitched.
Bottom line is the Cubs at this point are desperate to make a move and aid their bullpen, as evident with the Carlos Zambrano transition. But, realistically thinking Zambrano will not be in the bullpen for the rest of the season, and the Cubs won’t be able to trade for a quality reliever at this point in the young season. Which in a way, forces them to scavenge through the free agent market and see what is available. Which is why you may see them make a move for Juan Cruz.
Cruz, while he certainly is not the greatest, is better than what the Cubs have been trotting out for the eighth inning for majority of this season. And it would also allow the Cubs to move Carlos Zambrano to move back to rotation, where in my opinion he has more value to the team. It should also go mentioned, that Zambrano will not pitch out of the bullpen on back to back days for the early going.
The Cubs however will be in line to make a roster move towards the end of the week, as rookie Esmailin Caridad is expected to come off the disabled list and return to the Cubs bullpen. I can only speculate, but I would suspect that Jeff Gray gets sent down.