LUIS CRUZ, 29, infielder
Final 2013 stats: .145 batting average, one homer, 11 RBI, 18 runs, .190 on-base and .171 slugging percentages in 187 plate appearances (.127/.175/.169 as a Dodger).
Contract status: Signed a one-year, $850,000 contract in Japan.
The good: Nice guy, nice enough glove. That was about it for 2013.
The bad: Might have been the worst hitter in baseball last season. Hit only slightly better with the Yankees, after the Dodgers elected to designate him for assignment and he chose free agency rather than yet another trip to the minors.
What’s next: A season in Japan with the Lotte Marines. There are $150,000 in incentives in his contract, which means despite everything, he could earn $1 million next season. That’s more than he’s made in his total major-league career.
The take: The Cruz story seemed too good to be true in 2012, and unfortunately last season proved it so.
Cruz had been a career minor leaguer when a desperate Dodgers team called him up and he hit better than anyone dared to dream. A native of Sonora, Mexico, he almost immediately became a local favorite, the crowd chanting “Cruuuuuz.”
He was their biggest surprise of the season, hitting .297 and fielding well. The Dodgers, showing some loyalty, actually went into last season with Cruz designated as their starting third base man.
Only Cruz never even hinted at being the player he was for those 78 games in 2012. By the middle of June the Dodgers designated him for assignment, and to no one’s surprise, not one team claimed him.
After spending 12 seasons in the minors, he opted for free agency and then the Yankees were suddenly without Alex Rodriguez. He got one last chance in the majors, but with the same underwhelming results.
Despite it all, he’s still going to make some very decent money in Japan. Wish him the best. He’s hung in there a long time and maintained a great attitude. And he’ll always have his 2012 with the Dodgers.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times