Luis Cruz #47 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is greeted by manager Don Mattingly as he returns to the dugout after hitting a two run home run against the Colorado Rockies last season at Dodger Stadium.
You may not be hearing “Cruuuuuuuuzzzz!” anymore at Dodger Stadium as the man they called Cochito has been designated for assignment. With the return of Scott Van Slyke from the disabled list, the Dodgers cut Luis Cruz from the 40-man roster.
Cruz now has the option of accepting his assignment and returning to the minor league system or opting to go on waivers, which would give any club an opportunity of picking him up.
The 29-year old shortstop floated around in the minors from 2001-2008 before the Pirates gave him an opportunity on the big league squad. It was not until 2012 with the Dodgers that he was given legitimate playing time.
He played in 1,223 games in 12 minor league seasons and hit .261/.296/.394. It was not until 2012 with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque that he hit over .300 for the first time.
It was a career year for Cruz as he put up a line of .318/.348/.529 before the Dodgers called him up to the majors.
Cruz was a welcome surprise last season for Los Angeles and he soon became a fan favorite and one of the few bright spots of the 2012 season. In 78 games, he hit .297.322/.431 with six home runs and 40 RBI.
His biggest flaw as a Dodger was getting on base via walks. He only had nine in 78 games, and just one in the final 42 games of the 2012 season.
Many expected Cruz to regress in 2013, but in no way down to the point where he was hitting just .127/.175/.169. It was almost as if fans were counting down the days until he got DFA’d.
He played in 179 career Major League games before the Dodgers designated him for assignment.
On the day he was cut, the Dodgers were routed by the Phillies 16-1. The Phillies' 21 hits on Friday were more than Luis Cruz had all season in 118 at bats -- just 15.
Maybe he lost his stroke, or maybe pitchers figured him out, but it is hard to determine if Cruz’s success in 2012 or his absolute failure of 2013 is more mysterious.
Either way, the Dodgers are better without Cruz on the roster as more players are getting healthy and are ready to produce much more than Cruz.