July 3: Ciuffo indeed went unclaimed and is now a free agent, MLB.com’s Juan Toribio tweets.
As I noted when Ciuffo was designated for assignment, a release seemed the likeliest outcome for him. Ciuffo underwent thumb surgery last month and could still be sidelined for up to six more weeks. Injured players can’t be passed through outright waivers, and it’s common in these DFA scenarios for the player to be released and quickly re-sign on a minor league contract. That’s not universally the case, of course, and if he does indeed clear waivers, Ciuffo will have the right to talk to other clubs.
Ciuffo, 24, was the No. 21 overall pick by the Rays in the 2013 draft, but his career hasn’t panned out the way that either he or the organization had hoped. He has a .228/.276/.350 batting line in Triple-A Durham this season and has mustered only a .529 OPS in a tiny sample of 50 big league plate appearances dating back to 2018. Ciuffo is a career .250/.292/.369 hitter in 370 Triple-A plate appearances and has a career 42 percent caught-stealing rate in the minors. Ciuffo has also posted above-average framing marks in Triple-A, and catcher is a generally thin position within the Rays organization, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him latch back on there.