With the deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players a contract nearing, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the trade of catcher Tony Cruz to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor-league shortstop Jose Martinez.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

The move of Cruz was expected since his role was filled earlier this week when the team signed free agent Brayan Pena to a 2-year contract to serve as the back-up to Yadier Molina.

Drafted in the 26th round of the 2007 draft by St. Louis, Cruz transitioned from third base to catcher and made his big league debut with the team in May of 2011. As the back-up to Molina, playing time was limited as Tony appeared in just 259 games over the last five seasons and hit .220 (130-591) with five home runs and 58 RBIs.

Article continues after sponsor message

A native of Venezuela, the 19-year old Martinez is a switch-hitter. He averaged .246 (59-240) combined while playing for Burlington and Idaho Falls in the Rookie League last season and was more regarded for his glove work.

“He was pretty much a staple in the lineup, ” said Bob Sutton of the Burlington Times-News, who covered Martinez the last two years. In particular, 2014 stands out as the Royals were down a short-season team, which lead to almost 40 players being on the Burlington roster.

“It was a real juggling act as far as playing time and get guys enough at-bats,” recalls Sutton. “Obviously, they had a plan for him and he was one of the guys they wanted to make sure they got in there as much as possible.”

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

More like this:

2 days ago - Morrow Acknowledged on Anniversary of Nicholas Morrow Day in Greenville

Apr 10, 2024 - SIUE Quiz Bowl Team Beats Ivy Leagues, Places 16th in Nation

Mar 19, 2024 - Trailblazers Women’s Basketball Launching Girls Recreational League  

4 days ago - Led The Redbirds To Great Success: Legendary Cardinals Skipper Whitey Herzog Dies At Age Of 92

Mar 21, 2024 - Justice Eldridge Excels as Athlete, Instrumentalist, Priest