Rhiner Cruz outrighted off Astros roster. Puts 40-man at 39.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 23, 2013
Cruz was originally acquired via the Rule Five draft in 2011 from the New York Mets. He was able to stick in the Astros bullpen in the 2012 season despite a 6.05 ERA over 55 innings. He did show the reason for being selected however by displaying a mid-to-high 90's fastball that showed sink and movement and a wipeout slider. However, his lack of control prevented him from being successful as his walk-rate rose above 4 BB/9 and prevented his K/9 from rising over 8.
In 2013, his ERA showed huge improvement, but his peripherals told a different story as his FIP rose slightly and his strikeout rate plummeted and earned him a demotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Cruz displayed the importance of controlling raw stuff at the major league level. His stuff indicates ground balls and strikeouts, but the opposite happened as he couldn't locate his pitches and ended up too high in the zone consistently.
Cruz is now exposed to waivers.
EDIT: Alyson Footer is reporting that he has already cleared waivers.
RHP Rhiner Cruz cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple A Oklahoma City, the Astros announced. As you were.— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) December 23, 2013
The 40-man roster now stands at 39 with one open spot for a free agent signing of a trade to acquire a player that would require a roster spot. Or, it could be left open for a Non-Roster Invitee or minor leaguer to win a spot during Spring Training.