- The Royals shook up their bullpen prior to Friday’s series opener against Minnesota by releasing veteran Juan Cruz and designating Luis Mendoza for assignment.
Those two moves cleared space for the club to purchase the contracts of veterans Brad Thompson and Bruce Chen from Class AAA Omaha.
Because, you know, Brad Thompson and Bruce Chen are so good.
Sorry. They're perfectly serviceable Quadruple-A relief pitchers. Well, Chen does have a 6.53 ERA in the majors since 2005, but at least both can give you a spot start if one of your aces shows up at the ballpark with an ingrown toenail or something.
Again, sorry. This team does bring out the worst in me. Luis Mendoza really had to go. He's been torched this spring, and this isn't the first time; he's now got an 8.43 ERA in 84 major league innings (and it's not like he's been gangbusters in the minor leagues, either). There's really no good explanation for him breaking camp with the Royals in the first place.
Juan Cruz is an entirely different story. Cruz just started the second season of a two-year contract that pays him $6 million, so the Royals are eating a decent chunk of money here. Last season, Cruz's strikeout rate plummeted and (not coincidentally) his ERA skyrocketed. But this season he's struck out seven in four innings, and his 3.38 ERA ranks fifth among the Royals' nine relievers. Just from the evidence at hand, you might expect Robinson Tejeda or Dusty Hughes to get bumped before Cruz.
But trying to figure out why the Royals do what they do is a fool's errand. Most of us just aren't smart enough to fathom The Process.