Is Juan Cruz Next?

21 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Joe Crede is a Minnesota Twins player, and he will be announced formally at a press conference tomorrow morning. But is a second acquisition looming? From AZCentral.com, Bob McManaman writes:

The Diamondbacks were closing in on a likely sign-and-trade deal with the Twins involving relief pitcher Juan Cruz, who went 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA for Arizona last season in 57 appearances.

Various reports expected the transaction to be completed by Saturday, but Diamondbacks General Manager Josh Byrnes was unavailable for comment.

I find this whole situation rather interesting. Several second tier Type A free agents were not able to find a new team this year because of economics and other team’s unwillingness to give up a first round pick to acquire them. So, the Players Association agreed that these players could be assigned back to their old teams and a sign-and-trade could be worked out. The signing team would gain the player without giving up a first round pick. The team losing the player would not get the Type A draft compensation, but would receive something in trade in return. The alternative seemed to be that some of these free agents would just wait until after June 15th and sign with anyone, with the team receiving nothing. So, it does make some sense.

 

We do know that the Twins made Juan Cruz an offer. If Cruz was interested and agreed to the terms, he would be assigned back to the Diamondbacks and the Twins and Arizona would have 48 hours to work out the details of a trade.

 

That makes for very interesting discussions:

 

First, in my first fantasy baseball draft several years ago, I actually drafted Cubs pitching prospect Juan Cruz ahead of Cubs pitching prospect Mark Prior. Crazy at the time, but hey, six or seven years later, I look way smarter! I like Cruz. I think that his strikeout numbers are incredible. I’m a little leery of the walks and what the American League will do. However, if people think the Twins need an 8th inning guy, Juan Cruz is just that. And if Joe Nathan were to get hurt and miss time, Cruz would step into that closer’s role. The first discussion question becomes, what are the details of the contract. Because I am not a huge fan of big money and years for relievers, I hope that Cruz would accept less than the 4 years and $20-24 million he wanted earlier in the offseason. I would be very happy with a two year, $8 to $8.5 million contract with a third year option, or something like that.

 

The second interesting question becomes what would the Twins have to give up in trade. They would not have to give up the first round pick, but the Diamondbacks will certainly try to get as much as they can. You can’t blame them. I would love it if they would accept Matt Macri (who likely would be removed from the 40 man roster with the acquisition anyway and would probably be claimed) and a mid-tier pitching prospect. I don’t know if that would be enough.

 

This type of acquisition, if it were to actually happen, and I don’t have a real strong sense of where the situation stands, is very interesting, different than anything before, for two reasons:

1.)    he financial side of the deal, and

2.)    the trade details

 

LaVelle updated his blog regarding the press conference announcing Crede by saying:

 

The Twins have decided to hold the press conference at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. It makes it easier for Crede and his family to settle in tonight. It also helps me make the early deadline. 

 

The question is… does it also help the Twins front office by giving them time tonight to be negotiating and talking trade?

 

What are your thoughts? What would you offer in years and dollars, and what would you give up in terms of players? If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or leave Comments here.

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22 Responses to “Is Juan Cruz Next?”

  1. drnkmn February 21, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    Twins website has the team putting Neshek on the 60 day DL to make roster space. I guess everyone overlooked the most obvious move although I didnt know you could designate 60 day DL guys so soon.

  2. thrylos98 February 21, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    What would you offer in years and dollars, and what would you give up in terms of players?

    All things considered, a 2 year/ $7 million plus a team option at $4M would be fair.

    Thinking of the roster (and the Dbacks needs; they are up to the neck with OF), Humber has no place, so he has to go; maybe a Plouffe or another arm from the minors (Duensing?) might make this done.

  3. Jim H February 21, 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    Like you, I like the Crede move because it is a reasonable expenditure, adds depth, and a probable upgrade if Crede can remain healthy. What I like best about Crede is his defense. Defense was a bit soft for the Twins last year, and Crede along with a bit more experience from some of the young guys could make it a real strength.

    I am a little surprised that the White Sox didn’t offer a comparable deal to Crede, although I suppose we don’t know that they didn’t.

    As far as Cruz goes, I will be surprised if the Twins end up with him. I would think that there are other teams that would be willing to offer him more than the Twins will. Certainly, the Twins are unlikely to offer him anything like he was rumored to be seeking. If the Twins do get him to accept an offer, maybe a one year deal, where he could go on the market again in a year, it will be quite interesting to see if a deal can be reached with Arizona. I would think that the Twins might be interested in moving one of the other relief pitchers for him. Clearly, with Bonser and Humber out of options, the Twins will have too many pitchers for too few spots. That would be especially true if they decide to go with 11 pitchers.

    What I don’t know is what Arizona’s needs are. I sort think they might be more interested in a possible starter like Bonser or Humber more than a reliever that is going to cost over 1 mill a year.(like Crain, Ayala etc.) Of course with Bonser being hurt, he probably isn’t tradeable right now.

    I think the chances of this all working out for the Twins is slim, but Cruz would fit the Twins needs quite well.

  4. sploorp February 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm #

    I don’t know what to say about dollars and years. I will say that expectations for both Cruz and Arizona must be very low at this point. The deal thrylos98 proposes strikes me as a bit high – especially when you consider that the Twins are still giving up players as well. I thinking Cruz bites the bullet and takes less money and a one year contract in the hope he can fair better in next year’s market. I’m also willing to bet money he accepts arbitration the next time it’s offered.

    The players are a little be easier to predict. Arizona is strapped for ca

    I’m about 90% positive

  5. thrylos98 February 21, 2009 at 10:13 pm #

    sploorp, last October Cruz was probably the best free agent relief pitcher in the market (including K-Rod). Based on what K-Rod got, that deal is a steal.

  6. Seth February 21, 2009 at 10:24 pm #

    I really like Thrylos’s 2 year, $7 million, third year option deal… and would sign that in a second. I do think that it is a lot to give up in players, but probably worth it as someone like Humber doesn’t fit any more, Duensing is the third or fourth best option in Rochester to come up and Plouffe is a question mark.

  7. sploorp February 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    Whoops! I accidentally hit the submit button.

    Arizona is strapped for cash and desperately needs pitching. On one of the non-Twin blogs, I also read a few Arizona fans discussing the need for infield help as well – though I don’t know how much truth there is in that.

    I’m thinking it’s going to take young cheap pitching. At least one arm, but possibly two. Or an arm and an infielder. Both players would probably need to be at or close to the minimum.

    I’m about 90% positive that Humber will be one of the arms. For the Twins he makes the most sense. He’s out of options and his chances of making the club a very slim – even slimmer if the team signs Cruz. For Arizona, they would gain an arm very close to major league ready with decent upside.

    As far as the second player goes … ? I keep running names through my mind, but all I keep coming up with is Macri.

  8. Eric Olson February 21, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    Well. Way to go Seth. I hadn’t heard a thing about this. Post on Crede and now Cruz coming tomorrow on my page.

    As far as what I can see here…

    The contract will probably be for three years $10-11 mil plus some incentives (probably related to saves, in case Nathan breaks down, similar to the Ayala contract) and a vesting option for a fourth year for 4 mil. I would love to see thrylos’ number, but I tend to think he’s looking for more (and honestly, I have little problem giving it to him).

    For the trade, I would expect Humber, Macri, and possibly Duensing; I talked to a friend who takes the minor leagues for the Dbacks very seriously, and he said they are in desperate need of left-handed starting pitching. This deal seems like a lot for me, but they all seem like players that are more or less blocked, so it wouldn’t get me too angry.

  9. jjswol February 21, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    The D-backs need a 2B to replace Hudson, why not just give them Harris and another low level prospect?

  10. Eric Olson February 21, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    And, Seth, I want to know what you tagged this post as that made it think this link was relevant:

    http://iandravid.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/ae%C2%A2-god-made-us-sisters-prozac-made-us-friends-a/

    As a quick response to what the D-backs need more generally, my friend, who doesn’t blog, said that they need cheap pitching, especially lefties. Their bullpen is mostly in good shape, but it could take another arm. They might be looking for a utility infielder, since their current utility guy (Ojeda) is both getting old and in the last year of his contract. If Duensing is included (shudder), he might get a shot at the starting rotation; they only have one (marginal) lefty in the rotation now with the loss of the Unit to free agency.

  11. Seth February 21, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    I think it is important to realize that the D-Backs don’t have a lot of leverage in this at all. If they don’t work a deal with the Twins and Cruz wants to go there, Cruz can sit out until June 15 and the D-Backs get nothing.

    But again, I think that Humber and Macri would be great for the Twins since they both won’t make the team anyway with these deals. For the D-Backs, again, two guys that could help them even a little bit is better than nothing. If it requires another pitcher, I would be OK with Duensing because the Twins have 5 young starters, and Swarzak and Mulvey ahead of him at Rochester. The Twins could then work to keep Jason Jones as well, and Jeff Manship is just one step behind.

  12. Greg February 21, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    one pitcher, one hitter preferabbly some one like Macri.

    Humber is a former first round guy!

    Otherwise any other trade proposals don’t make sense.

    Win Twins!

    Crede signing is just great! look back at the June series agains the Twins! Crede did us in and he does a nice job against fellow central teams!!!

  13. Eric Olson February 21, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    I have to think that any reason the Dbacks might be stubborn on this is because now that the sign-and-trade system is okay, other teams might also be expressing some interest.

  14. sploorp February 21, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    thrylos98 – I realize that and I agree that the deal you stated is a good deal, but what was true last October and what is true right now are two different things.

    The way I see it, for a team to pull off a deal like this, they need enough cash on the table to interest Cruz and the players to interest Arizona. That last part is very important.

    If the teams involved can’t pull off a trade in 48 hours, the deal is void. Arizona wants pitching and Minnesota is one of the few teams that can afford to give it up.

    Most of the competition is out of the running before the race even begins.

    I don’t think any player is going to lock themselves into a long term deal for substantially less dollars than they think they’re worth. What if the market rebounds next year? They would be locked into a deal below what they think they are worth. That’s why I say I think he signs a short term deal. I think he signs for less just because there aren’t enough teams out there to drive the price up. I think he takes what he can get now for one year, hoping he can land a better deal next year.

  15. thrylos98 February 21, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    I posted a version of this in one of the Strib blogs too…

    remember the Reds’ Nasty boys (Myers, Charlton, Dibble) ?

    Think 2010. Nasty Boys 2:

    Nathan
    Cruz
    Neshek

    (and Mijares/Crede/Delaney)

    how priceless would that be?

  16. sploorp February 21, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    The main thing that caught my eye was the part about various reports expect the transaction to be done by Saturday.

    It sounds to me like the deal is in its final stages and he’s going to the Twins.

  17. sploorp February 21, 2009 at 11:35 pm #

    Seth —

    I agree that Arizona doesn’t have much leverage, but I also don’t think Cruz is in much better of a position either. Both Cruz and Arizona have the power to kill any deal they don’t like, but they also could be shooting themselves in the foot if they do.

    I think Minnesota might be the player with the most leverage. They have the money to pay Cruz and the pitching to make Arizona happy.

  18. Greg February 21, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    In terms of leverage – couldn’t the Twins just sign him straight up and surrender the pick? If so, then we shouldn’t/wouldn’t give up anything of greater value, right? Isn’t there a built in ceiling on what we’d give up?

  19. thrylos98 February 22, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    Greg,

    the bottom line is this:

    the Twins have a very full 40-man roster (and they cannot take off the add-ons like Armado Gabino and Butera they added to protect from the rule 5 draft) and a very full-25 man roster as far as options go.

    Nathan
    Crain
    Guerrier
    Ayala
    Bonser
    Breslow
    Humber
    Jones

    are out of options

    Mijares has options.

    Gardy (thank God hitter by lighting or something) is talking about having 11 pitchers, instead of 12 or 13 they had last season.

    Something has to give to add Cruz. And one (or 2 of the pen might have to be it)

  20. sploorp February 22, 2009 at 1:04 am #

    Greg –

    Yes they could, but if they wanted to they could have done it a long time ago.

    I think the appeal of this for the Twins is if they could pull it off by trading somebody like Humber – who is out of options and will probably be gone by the end of spring training anyway.

  21. Greg P February 22, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    another Greg above, My post was only 12

  22. drnkmn February 22, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    Jones isnt out of options. He does need to make the team or be offered back but if they work out a trade for him the club would be able to send him down to Rochester.

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