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02/22/09 3:43 PM EST
Twins not close to acquiring Cruz
Club has interest in D-backs reliever, but yet to make offer
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Reports that the Twins are close to a sign-and-trade deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks for free-agent pitcher Juan Cruz are not true, a person with knowledge of the talks told MLB.com on Sunday.
The person said that the Twins have not made a formal offer to Cruz, which would be the first step to a sign-and-trade deal.
Minnesota has expressed general interest in the setup reliever, but all indications right now are that the Twins are not close to working out such a deal to acquire Cruz.
Cruz, 30, earned $1,937,500 last season while going 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 57 appearances for Arizona. He held opponents to a .192 batting average, which was among the game's best.
Under a sign-and-trade agreement, the D-backs would sign Cruz to a contract that he and his agent had agreed upon with his new team. Then the two teams would have 48 hours to complete a trade or else the agreement would be invalidated.
Cruz is a Type A free agent, which means that the team that signs him would have to give the D-backs its first-round Draft pick. That is unless the pick falls in the top 16, in which case that team would give up its second-round pick. In addition, Arizona would get a pick in the compensation round between the first and second rounds.
But while a sign-and-trade deal would be a way for a club such at the Twins to avoid having to give up a Draft pick for signing Cruz, there are complications. The team that acquires him must still negotiate a contract with the pitcher and also satisfy Arizona's demand for talent in return.
"Obviously, it's tricky," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. "They would have to work out a deal with someone else and then we would have to get back in player value something that we feel is close to the respective picks."
Since the Twins remain interested in Cruz, it's possible that a deal could still be worked out. But right now it appears unlikely that will be the case.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.