Here’s a day most everyone had seen coming since, oh, April.
The Dodgers knew they were gambling going into the off-season, counting on Luis Cruz as their starting third baseman. By the end of April it was clear the gamble wasn’t going to pay off, Cruz batting just .089.
Things got no better in the next two months, so on Friday the Dodgers finally did what seemed inevitable, designating Cruz for assignment to activate Scott Van Slyke off the disabled list.
Cruz, a journeyman infielder who earned the Dodgers’ shaky trust after hitting an unexpected .297 in the second half last season, never could get it going this year. He had started only twice in the last 12 games and hadn’t played since June 19.
Cruz, 29, can become a free agent if the Dodgers cannot find a trade partner and he then clears waivers.
But since he’s batting only .127, with .175 slugging and .169 on-base percentages, it's safe to say the market will be on the thin side. After clearing waivers, he could accept a minor league deal with the Dodgers, if it’s offered, as Bobby Abreu did last year.
Cruz was a brief sensation last year, but had been a hole in their roster all this season. He looked exactly like a guy who had bounced around the minors for 12 seasons. Injuries to other players kept Cruz around longer than logic dictated, but with the roster getting closer to full strength, Cruz was done.
The addition of Van Slyke, who had been on the disabled list since June 11 with shoulder bursitis, gives the Dodgers an additional outfielder and someone who can also spell Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Assuming that actually happens again someday.
Van Slyke was hitting only .221 before going on the DL, but at the time was second on the club in home runs with six in 24 games.
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