The Astros are designating infielder Robel García for assignment, relays Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Reliever Rafael Montero was also transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list. The moves create a pair of vacancies on the 40-man roster needed to reinstate Taylor Jones and Andre Scrubb from the injured list (Jones from the COVID-19 IL, Scrubb from the 60-day version). Both Jones and Scrubb were optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land.
García has had one of the crazier career arcs of any player over the past few seasons. He spent a few years at the lowest levels of the Indians system but was released having topped out in Low-A. The Cubs spotted García playing professional ball in Italy a few years later and signed him to a minor league deal going into the 2019 season.
Assigned to Double-A, García mashed over the season’s first month before being bumped up to the minors’ top level. He popped 21 home runs in just 296 Triple-A plate appearances to earn his first big league call that July. The switch-hitting infielder hit another five homers in 80 trips to the plate at the big league level, but he also struck out 35 times.
Chicago designated García for assignment last July, and he spent the campaign at the Reds’ alternate training site after Cincinnati claimed him off waivers. He briefly landed with the Mets and Angels via waiver claim over the offseason and stuck with Houston after the Astros claimed him in February. He’s taken 117 plate appearances at the major league level this season, struggling to a .151/.216/.208 line with a huge 35.9% strikeout rate. The utilityman has had similar swing-and-miss issues in Triple-A, hitting .189/.321/.422 in 109 trips to the plate.
The Astros will now place García on outright or release waivers. His combination of power and ability to cover any position on the dirt has attracted the interest of a few teams around the league, although his continued strikeout problems have kept him from producing much to date at the big league level. García still has a minor league option year remaining after this season, so it’s possible a team could claim him and keep him in the system as high minors infield depth.
Houston acquired Montero alongside Kendall Graveman as part of a deadline deal with the Mariners. Montero had underperformed in Seattle and was included in the deal largely to offset salary. He performed well over his first four appearances with the Astros, tossing six innings of one-run ball. Unfortunately, right shoulder discomfort landed him on the IL just a couple weeks after the trade.
Today’s transfer rules Montero out for sixty days from August 10, the date of his initial IL placement. It’s theoretically possible he could make it back for a postseason run, but it seems more likely he won’t return this season. He’ll be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time of his career this offseason. If tendered a contract, he’d be in line for a slight raise on this season’s $2.25MM salary.
Scrubb returns for the first time since mid-July, when he landed on the IL with a shoulder strain. The 26-year-old has worked 19 2/3 frames of 5.03 ERA ball, striking out a decent 24.4% of batters faced but issuing walks at an alarming 16.3% clip. Jones, meanwhile, is back after missing a couple weeks upon testing positive for the coronavirus. He’s hitting .245/.269/.402 across 108 plate appearances.