Center fielder Craig Gentry elected free agency on Wednesday this week after refusing an outright assignment from the Athletics, MLB.com’s Jane Lee tweeted. The move was expected, as Gentry has more than three years of service time (four years, 152 days, to be exact), giving him the right to test the free-agent market in lieu of an outright.
While the 32-year-old is coming off a dreadful season in which he batted just .120/.196/.200 in a small sample of 56 big league PAs and .256/.319/.327 at the Triple-A level, he’s still an intriguing addition to the market. Age difference notwithstanding, Gentry isn’t entirely dissimilar from Peter Bourjos, who was just claimed off waivers by the Phillies. In 1860 career innings in center field, Gentry has logged an eye-popping 40 Defensive Runs Saved and been worth 26.7 runs above average per 150 games played in the estimation of Ultimate Zone Rating. Though he’s nearing the end of his physical prime, if Gentry can still approximate that level of defensive acumen, he’s an intriguing fourth outfield option at the least.
A minor league deal and invite to Spring Training may be the ultimate outcome for Gentry, who went unclaimed despite a fairly modest $1.6MM arbitration projection from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. But, as a career .265/.338/.339 hitter with a lifetime slash of .274/.354/.366 against left-handed pitching, Gentry does offer skills that make him a desirable part-time player at the very least.