A former football standout, Alford joined the Blue Jays as a third-round pick in 2012 and became a prospect of note across the majors within a few years. He ranked as a top 100 farmhand in each year from 2016-18, owing in part to impressive production at the minors’ lower levels. In the last of those years, Baseball America wrote that Alford’s “ability to get on base and play plus defense at a premium position give him the potential to be an above-average regular.”
Despite the promise he showed in his younger days, MLB opportunities have been hard to come by for the 26-year-old Alford. So far, he has amassed just 75 big league plate appearances, including 16 this season, and batted .155/.200/.254 (18 wRC+) with two home runs, five steals and a 40 percent strikeout rate. Meanwhile, Alford’s numbers have been uninspiring in Triple-A, where he has taken 749 plate appearances and hit .250/.326/.374 with 12 homers and 39 steals on 54 attempts.
Toronto will now have a week to trade, release or pass Alford through waivers. Alford has no minor league options remaining, so any team that acquires him would have to sneak him through waivers if it were to send him to its alternate site.