The Padres have signed infielder Domingo Leyba to a minor league contract, according to the transactions tracker at MLB.com. As is the case with other players who have signed minors deals during the lockout, Leyba opened the offseason as a minor league free agent after being outrighted off the Orioles’ 40-man roster in August.
Leyba, 26, has suited up in a pair of MLB seasons. He broke in with the Diamondbacks in 2019 and appeared in 21 games that year. He missed the abbreviated 2020 campaign on the restricted list but returned with Arizona in 2021. He was designated for assignment in early June and claimed off waivers by the Orioles, but Baltimore waived him themselves and released him not too long after. While he hooked on with the Rangers on a minors pact for the stretch run, Leyba didn’t get to the big leagues in Texas.
Between the D-Backs and O’s, the switch-hitting Leyba has played in 55 big league games. Over 126 plate appearances, he’s managed just a .152/.238/.222 line with one home run. Yet the Dominican Republic native has a far better track record in the minors. He’s a .304/.346/.537 hitter in two Triple-A seasons and owner of a .279/.352/.404 mark across three years at Double-A.
Leyba will presumably get an opportunity in big league Spring Training to compete for a utility role. He’s got minor league experience at both middle infield spots, although he’s primarily functioned as a second baseman or third baseman in the big leagues. The Padres already have ample talent around the dirt, with Ha-Seong Kim and Jurickson Profar on hand to back up Jake Cronenworth, Fernando Tatís Jr. and Manny Machado. They’ve recently subtracted from that group by moving Adam Frazier to Seattle, though, and there’s no downside in adding to the organizational depth by bringing Leyba in on a non-roster deal.