The Mariners announced Tuesday that they have once again designated catcher Jacob Nottingham for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster goes to outfielder Dillon Thomas, whose promotion to the big leagues was reported earlier this morning.
It’s the latest in a staggering series of transactions for Nottingham, who has spent the past several seasons with the Brewers organization and recently begun to be ping-ponged back and forth between Seattle and Milwaukee. A quick rundown of Nottingham’s bizarre timeline leading up to today’s DFA:
- April 22: Brewers designate Nottingham for assignment
- April 28: Mariners claim Nottingham of waivers
- May 1: Mariners designate Nottingham for assignment
- May 2: Brewers reacquire Nottingham in exchange for cash
- May 20: Mariners re-claim Nottingham off waivers
It remains to be seen if the Brewers will take another run at Nottingham, if he’ll land with another club or, perhaps, if he might finally clear waivers. The Mariners will have a week to gauge trade interest in the catcher or once again attempt to pass him through outright waivers. He’s out of minor league options, so any team that claims or acquires Nottingham will have to carry him on its MLB roster.
On the one hand, Nottingham is surely grateful to be in demand by at least these two teams. He gets Major League service time and Major League pay for any time spent in DFA limbo, so he’s at least being well compensated for the increasingly ridiculous tug-of-war the two teams are playing over him. On the other hand, it’s difficult for any player to bounce back and forth this much. Family considerations, housing, Covid protocols and myriad other factors come into play every time he changes teams.
Nottingham was once a catching prospect of some note, although he’s yet to receive any sort of regular playing time in the Majors. (Clearly, this year’s sequence isn’t helping.) He’s a career .250/.326/.421 hitter in 528 Triple-A plate appearances but has managed a more tepid .184/.277/.421 slash in a small sample of 130 plate appearances in the Majors. He homered twice in his 2021 debut with the Brewers and has also connected on a long ball in Seattle, but Nottingham’s 45 plate appearances in this strange season have resulted in a .150/.222/.400 output.