Jun 28, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Juan Cruz (37) delivers to the plate during the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies Sign Man Who Refused to Play in Minors to Minor League Deal

Juan Cruz, not formally known as some variation of the awesome nickname “Cruz Missile,” has been signed by the Phillies.

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

At 34 years old, Cruz meets the criteria for potential Phillies bullpen arms, and being right handed, he could balance out the abundance of southpaws out there who are basically teenagers.

The deal he signed is for the minors, which Cruz refused to play in last year for the Pirates.  After they designated him for assignment in August, he chose to start a novelty cruise line based on a joke he and a friend came up with while drunk weigh his career options.  At this stage in his life, it only makes sense for him to take a second to think about things before returning to Triple-A Indianapolis (if that’s even the Pirates’ AAA team anymore).

When DFA’d, Cruz had pitched to a 2.78 ERA after 35.2 innings in relief.  Those are solid numbers, but certainly not Pirates numbers, and naturally they wanted him to get the hell out (though his 4.8 BB/9 was a bit more revealing).

In his 11 year career, Cruz has pitched for seven different organizations, and it is unclear whether his invitation to Phillies Spring Training is due to Ruben Amaro actually thinking he’ll be of use or if the Phillies just drew the short straw and it’s their turn to babysit.

He is not to be confused with Juan Perez of the Immaculate Inning, which I totally did not do.

Tags: Juan Cruz Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates