Catcher Spencer Kieboom elected to become a free agent after the Nationals outrighted him off their roster in October 2019, and Kieboom tells Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post that he decided last winter to retire after eight seasons of pro ball. Kieboom’s MLB resume consisted of a single game in 2016 and then 52 games with the Nats in 2018, though knowing that he was becoming an afterthought on the team’s organizational depth chart left him “beyond frustrated.” After twice being called up in 2019 but not appearing in any games, Kieboom decided it was enough. “From a self-evaluation standpoint, I knew I couldn’t reach my goal anymore. I wouldn’t have stopped if I had more in the tank. I just didn’t,” Kieboom said.
The next step in his newfound retirement was returning to Clemson to finish a marketing degree, and Kieboom is now working on starting his own business and also spending time with a growing family that includes a newborn. We at MLBTR congratulate Kieboom on his career and wish him all the best in his post-playing endeavors.
More from the Nationals and Orioles…
- Nationals righty Joe Ross is looking forward to returning to pitching after opting out of the 2020 season, a decision he recently discussed with the media (including MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman). “With the medical professionals in my family – both my parents, my sister, some close family friends – it just kind of made sense to take this as serious as you could,” Ross said. “There were a lot of unanswered questions going into it. Not that we know everything now, but the initial shock value of what was happening added up with a few other things, and I decided to take time away, which is always hard to do.” Now that MLB has had more time to implement and adjust COVID-19 protocols, Ross is “pretty confident going into this year that everyone will have a pre-solidified plan on how to” keep players and personnel safe. Ross’ decision to opt out cost him a year of service time and the entire prorated share of his original $1.5MM salary, and he’ll now return to Washington’s roster competing for a starting rotation spot.
- The Orioles non-tendered Hanser Alberto on Wednesday, though GM Mike Elias told reporters (including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com) that the move was made largely due to “the quirks of the arbitration system” and that the O’s will “continue to have interest in pursuing” on a new contract. “I think that the interest is mutual, but it’s now his right to explore opportunities and we’re going to have to compete for him. But he’s somebody that’s meant a lot to this team and we hope we’re not closing the door on him,” Elias said. Alberto was projected for a salary in the $2.6MM range in his first trip through the arbitration process, coming off of two decent seasons as a regular starter (mostly at second base) in Baltimore’s infield.
- Without a 2020 minor league season, trading for prospects is an even riskier proposition than usual considering the lack of fresh scouting information about most young players. However, the Orioles’ recent acquisition of right-hander Garrett Stallings from the Angels (as part of the return in the Jose Iglesias trade) was aided by the team’s past interest in Stallings as a potential 2019 draft pick, as Elias told The Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz and other reporters. Since the O’s had already scouted Stallings during his time at the University of Tennessee, the team had that background as a comparison point when they saw Stallings finally get back onto a mound in the Angels’ instructional camp this fall. “We knew what he was in 2019, and then to see those performances a month ago, see the stuff, the velocity, and all of it be a little bit better than what he showed in college, it’s pretty encouraging,” Elias said.
I think Hanser Alberto would also be a nice depth piece. I say the Mariners, Giants, Rockies, Marlins, Pirates, and Tigers should all be on him for sure along with the Orioles. He wouldn’t cost that much and last year was a real breakout for him.
The Pirates definitley shouldn’t be on Alberto. They have so many 2B/3B/SS guys on the roster it’s not even funny. Even if they trade Frazier, Erik Gonzalez, Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker, Phillip Evans are on the 25-man roster and could see Oneil Cruz and Rodolfo Castro by the end of 2021.
Agree, he would be a better platoon bat/ utility man on a contender to face left handed pitching.
I get it that they wanna save every single cent they can, but come on man. He’s not blocking some young kid from playing, I can’t get with that decision smh. I just hope he finds a good home, he’s got something to offer someone.
I think the Cardinals as a depth signing!!
Exactly how was 2020 a “breakout” for Alberto? He was one year older and took steps backwards in terms of hitting for average, hitting for power, getting on base, striking out and fielding. I’d love to better understand how you see Alberto as better in 2020 than he was in 2019.
I should have clarified it but I meant he was better in 2019. That was my bad.
The way Spencer’s little brother has been going, I wonder if he will also give up in the next two years. If he does, that would look very bad for the Nationals since he was their number one prospect.
He has less than 150 total PAs. Way too early to tell.
Really silly and shortsighted to tell a 22 year old pro baseball player who has made the big leagues “it’s over” based off 44 games.
Patience is a virtue that makes everyone say less silly things, I think you’d be wise to never write off 22 year olds for off anything other than maybe gymnastics.
Or high school. if you haven’t finished by 22, probably time to quit.
Yeah, that’s wrong. Leaving high school is generally a bad decision (there are exceptions, like having to work to put food on the family’s table, if a parent is dead or otherwise missing. It could also be a way of getting away from an intolerable situation in H.S.). Later on, things can change. Whether it’s at 22, 28, 35…whatever, it’s always a good thing on multiple levels to go and get the GED. First, there will be some learning and that’s a good thing. Second, there will be some increased self-respect, and that’s a good thing. Third, it will look better on the job application, and that’s a good thing. Age has nothing to do with it. Getting a GED is always a good thing, on multiple levels.
In the next 2 years, Carter will be 25. Unless he really feels that he’s been screwed over by baseball, big time, or doesn’t suffer a life altering injury, then I think he’ll still be around. Whether that be with the Nats or another club is still to be seen.
Can someone help me out with what ‘quirks of arb’ Elias is referring, other than not wanting to pay Alberto 2.6M? If you want to keep the player, relinquishing multiple years of control just to save a few hundred thou seems silly. What else does he gain by re-signing the player as a free agent? Lowering the likely arb raise due in 2022?
I agree, 2.6M is nothing, and he will get double that on the open market, easily.
Then why didn’t a team trade for him before the deadline? If Alberto is really worth 2.6 million, the Orioles would most likely have found a trade partner. Remember, this is a player that was waived 4 times over the 2018-19 off-season. My guess is he signs for a little less than the 1.65 million he signed for this year
You think Alberto will get $5.2MM. Pure insanity! If he gets $2.2Mm, that would be tremendous for him. More likely, he will sign for $1.5MM somewhere.
Hyperbole doesn’t do anything. No, I’m not “insane” for thinking an age 28 season who is a near-lock for 3+ WAR 2B with a huge market for him would get that tiny amount, which because you think he “deserves” an even tinier amount, makes it “pure insanity”? Come on dude.
As far as Alberto getting double on the open market “easily”…No. Freakin. Shot.
He took steps backwards in almost every conceivable way in 2020 — hitting for average, hitting for power, getting on base, striking out, and fielding. Nobody in their right mind is paying Alberto something approaching $3m or better for 2021.
More like saving a million. Alberto is an interesting player. He absolutely dominates LHP but his absurdly low walk rate means that if he doesn’t hit then he is useless. His defense is adequate but not good, and he really is limited to 2B. He looked bad at third in limited appearances.
The Orioles view Alberto the same way they view Ruiz and they way that they did view Nunez: a useful piece for now but ultimately not someone they are going to move forward with. They are placeholders until a prospect is ready to push them aside. In the case of Hanser, it was acquiring Sanchez and paying him only $1M.
Maybe looking at traditional stats like Batting Average (Alberto’s is quite high) to determine value/salary? Can’t think of anything else that would affect this particular case.
Thank you Rbase, that is a reasonable explanation for his choice of words. I guess that was his fancy way of saying arb will ‘overrate’ Alberto, which I think is a little disingenuous because that system is MEANT to give players raises after they’ve put in sufficient years of underpayment.
I’m sure the O’s tried to pre-tender Alberto for less than 2.6, but now the market will have its say. I could see him landing ~2M. If I’m him I make the O’s outbid any other offer by at least $200K, just to impart that there are consequences to low balling.
mstrches13 did a much better job then I did tbh. But indeed, arbitration still overrates AVG, Wins etc. I think Alberto will get a look at a spot with a team like the Orioles. Maybe Rangers to pair with Odor (and some games at other IF spots).
Basically it seems like he doesn’t put much stock in his counting stats and still sees him as a low OBP player who shouldn’t make a lot of money.
Either way, hard to let go of a power bat for under 3M if you have a weak roster. I don’t get it really but no one else jumped on him yet so…
Alberto is not a “power bat.” Never will be. He slugged .393 last year. Career slugging is .373.
Calling Alberto a “power bat” negates your entire post.
In what world is Alberto a “power bat?” His career slugging pct is below .380.
I’m guessing the “quirks of arbitration” refer to what year of eligibility the player is in. Alberto was in his 2nd year of eligibility. As a player accrues more service time, their salaries go up accordingly. Plus previous years play a role. So Alberto’s ultimate number would have been based on his combined 2019 and 2020 stats. Alberto had a much better year in 2019, but since it was his first year, received 1.6 million. One example from the past. In 2013 Chris Davis hit 53HR’s and his salary jumped from 3 to 10 million. He had a horrible 2014, hitting .196 and 26 HR’s not to mention a 25 game PED suspension. He received a 20% raise the next year for 12 million. I guess that is as good an example of a “quirk” as anything
Alberto > La Stella based off TLS being a bad defender who really needs to be a DH-only at this point. Based on defense alone, Alberto is a better bet. Alberto is only now entering his age 28 season (so there’s a large chance of a career year in the next three years) and has already been good before this year. I think in the 2021 he will be one of the top 10 2B in the game. Can’t say the same for anyone else on the FA 2B market other than DJLM, Wong, Hernandez and Kim. Alberto’s age and recent past performance makes him a much safer bet than the rest of the field, outside of three of those four (minus Kim) of course.
Metrics show La Stella as a slightly above average defensive 3B and slightly below average defensive 2B. The eye test shows him to be passable but average in both. There is zero way La Stella is seen as DH-only by front offices.
La Stella is more than usable at first base and third base. While he’s not a great defensive 2B, he can manage the position. I’ll easily take a guy with a 125 wRC+ and 21 home runs in his last 549 plate appearances over a poor man’s David Fletcher.
TLS is too short for 1B, he was one of the worst defensive 2B I’ve seen in a long time last year with the Angels and A’s, didn’t see much of him at 3B though, so maybe that tracks.
Alberto will more than likely clear 3.0 WAR next year, can you say that about TLS? Alberto’s superior glove at 2B and high AVG and being only 28 in 2021 means he’s better to me.
Hanser Alberto has averaged about 1.9 fWAR/600 plate appearnces since 2019. LaStella has averaged 3.5 fWAR/600 plate appearances in the same time. There’s more to WAR than just a high BA. Alberto has had a .299 BA compared to LaStella’s .289 the last two years which isn’t too far apart. Given LaStella makes consistent contact and does it for extra base hits makes him way better of a batter than Alberto. LaStella strikes out way less and walks a whole lot more than Alberto. LaStella might be a shorter 1B, but he plays the position competently as well as 3B. Might not be a good 2B, but he’s far from a DH.
Get rid of the softball players
This should be Rizzo,s last year as gm.he is about to be reavealed as a fraud like ( theo epstein)he has lost control of the players salaries and can’t maintain the roster going forward.
Pipe dreams of adding realmuto or bryant isn’t going to happen.nats are not adding money to the roster.
Strasbourg should have been traded before giving him that albatross contract.
Nats need to trade Corbin and turner before the season starts to replenish the farm system for long term sustainability.scherzer needs to be traded at the deadline.
The longer the wait on making the trades the lesser return.
At the end of the year Rizzo will resign and try to slip out the back door like(theo epstein)
Rizzo was able to maintain a competitive team for 10 years without an unlimited budget. Despite having low draft picks (and losing picks due to signing FA) the Nats produced and developed enough prospects to stay competitive (case in point: Soto). They won a championship and reached the playoffs 5 times. The salaries are not out of control at all; only Corbin an Strasburg are under contract for 2023 and neither contract is an albatross (so far…). Still, you’re calling Rizzo a fraud???
I agree he has not had an unlimited budget like the Yankees but call it for what it is. They have had to pay a penalty more than once. They got high picks like Strasburg, Harper and Rendon because they were so bad. They have developed Soto but I think he will be the only star prospect of the last few years. Turner was brought over in a trade with S.D. and then developed. Great trade btw. Robles has not been the player they have hoped for. Low batting average and inability to draw enough walks. Kieboom has been a bust so far. I just don’t know about the pitching prospects they have. Maybe a couple of them will pan out and be stars. We’ll find out in two or three years. The minor league system is at best the second worst in baseball.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Rizzo is the best GM ever. I think he’d be in the top 10 if I had to make a ranking of current GM’s but not above that. He made some mistakes; Papelbon comes to mind; and got a little lucky in 2019 winning without a bullpen. He drafted studs when he got a chance to because the Nats tanked before it was cool. Also, he has a positive record on trades for the most part (still don’t like the Giolito/Eaton trade).
The Nationals are in a much better place than for example the Phillies when Amaro left them or the Rangers after their run was over in ~ 2013, Both of these teams have similar, very high, budgets. No Ryan Howard or Prince Fielder on this roster. They won’t be paying a former star to clog up the roster until he’s 45 years old. I believe the Nats will remain competitive if Stras and Corbin stay healthy and perform well.
Worst take in a long time. Rizzo built the team from the laughing stock of baseball, to alot of potential, to multiple division winning years….and then the world series. Why couldn’t he build the team again?
But the key pieces to this are Turner and Soto. They either need to be locked up for the run after the rebuild or used to Kickstart the rebuild once Max is gone.
Stras was a free agent when he signed that albatross contract. Couldn’t be traded.
Strasburg was a free agent after the WS win and resigned with Nats. At what point would the Nats be able to trade him? SMH
i kinda agree. Rizzo dis a great job building the 2019 team but the drop off this year and the Stras contract loom large. they need to make changes to be competitive again.
Alberto is the kind of contact hitter the Cubs are trying to collect
Get rid of the softball players
You’re validating my point that a rebuild is coming.scherzer comes off the books after this season that is why they need to trade him at the trade deadline.that leaves Corbin and turner to be traded to restock the farm system.the longer the wait the lesser the return.
Being a gm for a deep pocket owner is easy but losing control of the player’s salaries that effect maintaing your roster long term for a deep pocket owner is pathetic.
Nats will not add salaries this year or next.
Philly is on the rocks because of their gm.watch Rizzo head to the back door.
Any gm that got soto would have had one feather in his cap.soto is great.
GROTSP — No, he’s not validating your point. Because you haven’t made a single coherent, logical point yet. Instead of laughably suggesting that a highly respected GM (who built a World Series champion) is going to resign soon, why dont you make a better case for yourself by breaking down for us all of the rotten, horrible moves this guy you allege to be a “fraud” has made over the past 10 years….Go ahead. Take your time. (P.S. — at least Rizzo casn spell STRASBURG). LOL.
Btw, to go along with your point, I think Rizzo recently signed an extension.
Get rid of the softball players
Strasbourg could have been traded before he hit free agencyp
what, a sign and trade?
Nats won a title. Why on earth should they have done that?
Yeah, really. If they had traded him before he hit free agency they don’t win the World Series.
Non-tendering Alberto seems like kind of a strange move. Idk if you ask me he seems like he’s worth $2.6M — I mean it’s not like he was set to earn $5M+ … not saying he’s some superstar/super-value at $2.6M but it just seems like he’s definitely worth that amount for just 1 season
His entire offensive profile relies on putting the ball in play, which while fine, is undermined by the fact he lacks in both the power (bottom 1 percentile in exit velocity and hard hit rate, 10th or lower percentile in barrel%) and the walk department.
It probably didn’t help that his defense went from top tier (91st percentile) to bottom tier (6th percentile). Coming off a season like that, I’m not surprised they tendered him, though I expect Elias to try to resign him to a lower rate.
Alberto is a player that shouldn’t platoon. You look at his splits, and he hits both lefty and righties equally. He can also play 3B-2B. Excellent affordable addition for any team!
Jays, Yanks, Mets, Braves, Brewers, Rox’s, Indians, Boston, Angels, Twins, Cardinals a,one other should all look into this guy. Over 600 AB in 2019 and yet, he still hit over .300. He did goo yet again in a pandemic season while other mighty bats struggled mightily. He’s a dark horse like Ozuna was in 2017 when he broke through.
Seriously? Facts are important and you know them before posting something as ludicrous as, “[Alberto] hits both lefty and righties equally.”
Alberto vs. RHP — .237/..263/.328
Alberto vs. LHP — .350/.367/.464
It’s not even close.
Sorry, over 500 AB….he still did good… and even better, he doesn’t SO a lot which is alway good. Around 50+ SO in over 500+ AB in 2019? I’ll take that in a heart beat!
Haha! Elias went on to say, “Our owner doesn’t like the quirk in the system where if a player performs a little, you have to pay him more money. So we cut him. Now we have to hope that nobody else wants him (he’s a guy the O’s cut, for chrissakes – and there’s only 1 Yaz II), so we can get him back for less. The Oriole Way!!”
Are the O’s building a team or waiting out the Cobb and Davis contracts? Since 2019, Villar, Bundy, Nunez, Alberto, Castro, Givens and Iglesias are no longer O’s.