The Rays have designated infielder Ryan Schimpf for assignment (h/t Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). The team needed his spot on the 40-man roster to make room for the recently-signed Carlos Gomez.
The 29-year-old Schimpf made his major league debut with the Padres in 2016, posting a .217/.336/.533 batting line across 330 plate appearances en route to 2.5 fWAR. However, he followed it up with an unfortunate .158/.284/.424 line with a 35.5% strikeout rate in 2017, which led him to a replacement-level campaign. Fangraphs.com described him as “the poster child for the fly ball revolution going too far”, noting that his first two MLB seasons rank second and third in fly ball rate among all player seasons dating back to 2002.
The Rays had only recently acquired the left-handed hitter back in December, shipping out minor leaguer Deion Tansel. While he could clear waivers, there are probably a number of other clubs who might be willing to take a chance on his power and walk rate. The Rockies, for example, are in need of a utility infielder after learning that Pat Valaika and Shawn O’Malley are expected to miss time.
The move seems even more curious considering Schimpf was projected to make the Rays’ opening day roster as a bench player. Instead, the team will likely rely on a mix of Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson behind a starting infield mix that includes Brad Miller, C.J. Cron, Adeiny Hechavarria and Matt Duffy until Christian Arroyo and Willy Adames force their way onto the MLB scene.