Taking a Cruz and Finding a Fan

For the past two seasons a case could be made that one of the most valuable members of the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen was Juan Cruz. During the 2006 season Cruz began the season as a reliever but soon found himself forced into the starting rotation. His starts were somewhat inconsistent but he did provide a solid 5 or 6 innings where in most cases the Diamondbacks were in a position to win. Last season Juan was moved back into the bullpen where he flourished as both a long reliever and as someone who could get the team to that all important seventh inning when the game could be handed over to the trio of Tony Pena, Brandon Lyon, and Jose Valverde. Cruz who is eligible for salary arbitration avoided that process when he signed a one-year contract with the Diamondbacks today.


This signing provides some stability to the bullpen who will be called upon to keep the Diamondbacks in games if they are to repeat their success from last year and defend their National League Western Division championship. Cruz posted a 3.10 earned run average in 61 innings of work last year and will likely see about the same amount of work this year. The contract goes through the 2008 season at which time Juan Cruz will be eligible for free agency. Financial terms were not released by the team but other media outlets have identified the value to be slightly more than $1.9 million. The signing of Cruz leaves five Diamondbacks players left unsigned including second baseman Orlando Hudson, relievers Brandon Lyon and Chad Qualls, catcher Chris Snyder and infielder Chris Burke. Qualls and Burke were acquired as part of the deal sending Jose Valverde to Houston.

An interesting sidelight, as part of the announcement of the Juan Cruz signing the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that they currently have approximately 12,000 season ticket holders for the team. With seat relocation now complete and season ticket renewal deadlines having passed the team has seen a renewal rate of more than 93 percent. This is the largest amount of renewals in the history of the franchise from a percentage perspective. This is great news as it appears that the Phoenix area has at least 12,000 diehard fans that support the team on a regular basis. Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall stated that the team would like to see the season ticket base grow to 15,000 during calendar year 2008 which would be a 25 percent growth over current numbers. That means that one out of every four current season ticket holders needs to find one additional fan to join the season ticket fraternity. I am willing to take on that challenge and plan on expounding the benefits of spending the summer with the Arizona Diamondbacks. I think once people realize how much fun they are missing out on they should jump at the chance to be counted upon as part of the Diamondbacks faithful. So pick up that phone and call the Diamondbacks season ticket services team and put your name in for 2008 Season Tickets. It’s something you definitely won’t regret. This is an exciting team and this year should be a lot of fun. When you call, don’t forget to mention my name. I doubt that will get you anything special but it would be kind of funny if everyone said Jeff sent them.


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