Revs add a big bat; bolster bench

padgett.jpgAdam Gladstone recently chatted with Barry Bonds’ agent.

But don’t let me get your hopes up, the phone call was to discuss another one of Jeff Borris’ clients.

The Revolution announced the signing of Jose Enrique Cruz on Friday along with outfielder/first baseman Matt Padgett. Cruz, Borris’ client and a 26-year-old infielder — the brother of former Seattle Mariners’ phenom Jose Cruz Jr. and son of two-time Major League All-Star Jose Cruz — will replace Luis Cotto as the Revolution’s utility infielder this season. Cotto recently signed with the Edmonton Cracker Cats of the Northern League with a number of other former Atlantic League veterans.

Padgett (pictured) is a player capable of filling a power spot in the Revolution’s order. The South Carolina native has a .264 average with 120 home runs in 3,705 at-bats in his 10-year minor league career. He has spent parts of the last four seasons at Triple-A and was a fifth-round pick in 1998. The Clemson University grad has spent time with the Florida Marlins, Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies. His most recent stop came at Triple-A Ottawa last year. Check out his career stats here.

tope_padgett.jpg“This is Matt’s first time in independent baseball and we’re trying to expedite the process for him to get back to a major league club,” Gladstone, the Revs’ director of baseball operations, said in a news release. “He’s a middle-of-the-lineup hitter with great experience and can play the corner infield and corner outfield positions defensively.”

Padgett, 30, appears to be one of the players the Revs will call on to help replace Nate Espy. Although he is not the on-base machine Espy was, Padgett has one of the most respectable resumes of any offensive player York has signed so far this season. His one downfall is that he strikes out a lot. The lefty has 989 strikeouts in his minor league career.

Cruz, a switch-hitter who goes by “J.E.” according to Scout.com, played in the College World Series in 2002 and 2003 while attending Rice University in Houston. He has spent his professional career with the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and most recently the New York Mets. The highest Cruz has played is Double-A.

327082.jpgHe is a career .236 hitter in 1,220 minor league at-bats and is capable of playing any infield position and a little outfield. See his career statistics here. Gladstone feels Cruz will be an upgrade over Cotto.

“My father used to drag me out to catch balls while my brother practiced his hitting,” Cruz told the Rice News in this 2001 article.

Said Gladstone: “He has two years at Double-A and he impressed us when he was playing in Puerto Rico.” (Cruz played winter ball for Ponce in Puerto Rico and batted .258)

While the move seems to make sense for the Revs’ bench, it will be sad to see Cotto gone. He was easily one of York’s hardest workers last season and played wherever the club asked him to. Cotto appeared to be a likely candidate to be cut in spring training in ’07, but he stuck with York through the entire year and held his own in the Atlantic League.

*Padgett photo courtesy of Larry A. Woolis.

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2 Responses

  1. […] to that family. Padgett could be the slugger the Revolution needs in the middle of the order. See Jeff Johnson’s blog for […]

  2. Jason Guarente is reporting over at Barnstormin’ that Lancaster has acquired the rights to Ian Bladergroen from Southern Maryland. The Barnstormers traded Josh Stevens’ rights to the Blue Crabs for him, although Stevens plans to retire.

    Bladergroen, an Atlantic League veteran, put together a decent season last year with the Road Warriors.

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