Displeased with a bullpen that's already allowed 35 runs in 44 innings, the Kansas City Royals shook things up on Friday by releasing righty Juan Cruz, designating righty Luis Mendoza for assignment, and calling up righty Brad Thompson and lefty Bruce Chen from AAA.
Cruz, signed to a two-year, $6m contract in February 2009, was a disappointment in Kansas City, as he struggled in a big way with his command. By releasing him, the Royals eat his $3.25m 2010 salary and $0.5m 2011 buyout. Mendoza is a lower-profile loss, and had allowed ten runs in four innings so far in April.
Both Thompson and Chen are Major League veterans, but neither is particularly impressive - it's no accident that they began the season in AAA Omaha. Thompson offers a sinker and generates a lot of contact and groundballs, while Chen is a flyballer with a broader repertoire.
Cruz is a curious release, given his natural talent and electric arm, but ultimately, he was ineffective, and with the Royals going nowhere in 2010, his loss will mean little. If you're curious to see how Royals fans are responding to this, check out Royals Review for more.