The Royals continued their quest to find a backup catcher by acquiring Tony Cruz from the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league infielder Jose Martinez. The 29-year old Cruz is a five-year veteran with the Cardinals hitting .204/.235/.310 with 2 HR 11 RBI in 151 plate appearances last year. He is a lifetime .220/.262/.310 hitter in 633 Major League plate appearances. He replaced Yadier Molina in the lineup after a thumb injury ended the All-Star's season.
Cruz was originally a 26th round pick by the Cardinals in 2007 out of Palm Beach Community College. He is a slightly better hitter away from Busch Stadium, but either way is not much of a hitter. Cruz threw out just 3 of 20 would-be basestealers last year, and has thrown out just 27% of runner in his career. Cruz is eligible for arbitration and is projected to receive a $1 million salary.
Tony Cruz's pitch-framing approach can best be described as stabbing 10 men with a shiv.— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) October 13, 2014
The trade may mean the Royals plan to non-tender backup catcher Drew Butera, acquired by the team last summer from the Angels. Butera is projected to receive a $1.1 million salary. The deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players a contract is Wednesday.
Jose Martinez is a 19 year-old middle infielder, not to be confused with the 27-year old outfielder who played in Omaha last year. The switch-hitting Venezuelan hit .246/.308/.296 in 274 plate appearances for Burlington and Idaho Falls.
Tony Cruz-Jose Martinez trade: Cards getting a young SS with some glove skills, hasn't hit but solid swing from both sides of plate.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) December 2, 2015