Cruz signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training with Cincinnati on Wednesday. Cruz played in 51 games for Triple-A El Paso within the Padres' organization in 2017, hitting .280/.341/.458 with seven home runs and 27 RBI. The 31-year-old last appeared in a big-league game with the Royals in 2016, and saw a solid chunk of playing time as Yadier Molina's backup for the Cardinals in the five years prior to being in Kansas City. Looking ahead, Cruz might have a tough time filling the void of backup catcher in Cincinnati, due to the fact that manager Bryan Price reiterated that he only wanted to keep two backstops on the roster earlier this week, which will be Tucker Barnhart and Devin Mesoraco. Barring any injuries, Cruz will serve as additional depth for the Reds in Triple-A next season.
Cruz was reassigned to minor-league camp Wednesday, Padres radio broadcaster Bob Scanlan reports. Cruz might be in a new organization, but he'll fill the same role that he did last season with the Royals as a depth option at catcher at the Triple-A level. The 30-year-old batted .264 with seven homers and 55 RBI for Triple-A Omaha in 2016.
Cruz signed a minor league deal with the Padres on Tuesday, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The 30-year-old spent most of his time in Triple-A in 2016, slashing .264/.347/.387 across 363 plate appearances. He was called up for four games, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts over that span. Cruz owns a .218/.260/.308 line across parts of six major league seasons, and will likely serve as organizational depth for the Padres in 2017.
Cruz was released by the Royals on Wednesday. He was designated for assignment earlier this month, and the two sides agreed to part ways. It is hard to fault Cruz for wanting to explore other options, as Salvador Perez is not going anywhere, and the team has made it clear that they like Drew Butera as the backup catcher. Cruz has a career .224/.283/.323 slash line in 638 big league plate appearances and has graded out as a league average defender behind the dish.
The Royals recalled Cruz from Triple-A Omaha on Friday. Cruz has appeared in just three big league games up to this point after playing in 69 games for the Cardinals last year, but he will serve as the Royals' third catcher during September. Cruz posted a .264/.347/.387 slash line over 92 games with Omaha this season.