The Rays are claiming Yu Chang from the Pirates, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Pittsburgh designated the infielder for assignment last week. To create a spot on the 40-man roster, Tampa Bay transferred second baseman Brandon Lowe from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
Chang heads to his third organization of the season. A longtime member of the Cleveland farm system, the right-handed hitter saw action with the MLB club every year between 2019-22. Despite a decent prospect pedigree, Chang never secured regular playing time in a series of generally strong infields, and he struggled when he did find his name in the lineup. The Taiwan native hit only .208/.265/.372 with a lofty 28.5% strikeout rate over 358 plate appearances in Cleveland, bouncing on and off the active roster for his first three years.
That shuffle exhausted all of Chang’s minor league option years, and the Guardians were left to carry him on the big league roster or take him off the 40-man this season. They kept him in the big leagues for a couple months but eventually designated him for assignment in late May. Pittsburgh acquired him for cash considerations a few days later, but Chang continued to scuffle during his month in the Steel City.
Through 18 games as a Pirate, Chang hit .135/.237/.212 with a 42.4% strikeout percentage (18 in 49 plate appearances). The Bucs quickly moved on, and the Rays become the next team to take a low-risk shot to see if they can unlock some of his upside. Chang appeared among Baseball America’s ranking of Cleveland’s top 30 prospects each season from 2015-21, drawing praise for his plate discipline, serviceable power and ability to play all around the infield. As he’s reached the upper levels, however, Chang has shown an alarming propensity for swinging and missing.
It’s possible Chang’s stay in Tampa Bay also proves brief. Because he’s out of options, he has to stick on the active roster or again be designated for assignment. The Rays have a fair bit of infield depth, with Wander Franco ensconced at shortstop and the hot-hitting Isaac Paredes bouncing between second and third base. Yandy Díaz is on hand as a corner option, while former top prospects Taylor Walls and Vidal Bruján can cover virtually anywhere on the dirt. Each of Walls and Bruján has struggled at the plate this season and do have options remaining, however, so the Rays could decide to send either player back to Triple-A Durham once Chang reports to the team.
The infield mix will only become deeper once Lowe is able to make his return. Tampa Bay’s starting second baseman has been out since May 16 while battling a stress reaction in his lower back. Today’s transfer rules him out for 60 days from that initial placement, meaning he’ll be eligible to return right around the All-Star Break.
Lowe progressed to taking batting practice last week, but manager Kevin Cash noted at the time he was still a ways from returning to MLB action (Topkin link). He’ll surely need to head out on a minor league rehab assignment before stepping back into the big league lineup, so the decision to move him to the 60-day IL isn’t a surprise.
30 HR in the next two months coming up
Seriously what they did with Harold Ramirez was nothing short of a miracle
Also Isaac Paredes
Don’t get too comfortable, Yu. History shows you’ll be released before completely unpacking your suitcase
Not so fast. I’m a Pirates fan and also a Rays fan. If the Rays see something in Chang, don’t be surprised if he finds it for a couple of months. As a Pirate he was bad.
As a Guardian he was bad. He’s been HORRIBLE ALL season
Yeah, he was 0 fer Cleveland this season at least got a dinger with the Burgh but struck out a bunch. If he would find anything for a couple of months, they League needs to look to see how the Rays must be cheating. LOL!
The Bucs activated Gamel and Yoshi this afternoon and both are in tonight’s lineup against the Yankees.
I predict that by the break, Yoshi will follow the same path as Yu.
Shouldn’t that be news on this site? Two guys being activated isnt newsworthy anymore
Mendoza Line 215
Not if they are Pirates.
If the Rays hitting coach could get Chang to hit .225 he should be inducted in to the Hall of Fame
Couldn’t agree more. The next time Chang gets hot at the plate will be the first time. Watched him for years in CLE, and the guy just can’t hit. Good luck TB
For years there has been an underground railroad for bench players between Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.
Think their FO’s look at the same set of stats.
This guys gonna be an all star now
The Yu Chang Clan ain’t nothing to f*** with
Bart Harley Jarvis
“Here I go, deep type flow,
Jacques Cousteau could never get this low.”
This is a terrible move by Tampa. Chang has already proven that he can not handle major league pitching, despite multiple chances over multiple seasons. Tampa would be remiss to send Bruján or Walls down to AAA in order to open a roster spot for Chang; both Bruján and Walls are far superior players, but I do hope that Tampa decides to play Chang against Boston the next couple of nights. The Sox need to put some distance between themselves and the Rays; Chang should be able to help them out with his huge K rates and low batting average.
Have you seen Brujan and Walls hit? Neither of those guys belong in the bigs and they’re definitely not far superior players to anybody
Both of them swing from the heels and occasionally make hard contact. They need to utilize their speed by making contact and run. As hitters….close. Defensively? Not close.
Far superior please…
That’s how bad Chang is!
Yu Chang for Joey Gallo????
Who comes out aheàd Rays or Yankees?
Why not Meade, Aranda or Edwards all are excelling at triple A.
Yu Chang is a good player, saw him on the Indians and he was good, good pickup
The Rays always make these kind of moves (i.e. build in redundancy/depth) before a trade. Trade deadline is coming up fast! The Rays acquired Luke Raley before trading Meadows. I’m assuming they’ve acquired Chang before potentially trading Yandy Diaz (leading MLB in OBP). Paredes acquisition and the offseason trades of any player on the wrong side of arbitration + 30 y/o meant Yandy’s days were numbered. Paredes success has likely given the Rays confidence to move Yandy + the Rays are very far out of the AL East division title race. RHB Chang has played more 3B than any other position in the majors (second most at 1B similar to Yandy but likely a defensive and baserunning upgrade- major unexpected liabilities of the 2022 Rays- at both). Chang is depth (not an everyday player) for the Rays who is getting picked up for free as a defensive and baserunning upgrade at league minimum. If Chang hits his weight for a while, goes on a run like Brett Phillips did in 2021, Rays can call it it a win.
Diaz is a great fit on many teams, as a lot of teams are needing to improve at 3B (check out fangraphs Team WAR tool). Rays improved his barrels (he always was able to get on base) and defense (used to be a liability but found his feet at 3rd base). Rays also have a massive R5 roster crunch (i.e. all positions and pitcher types) coming up in the offseason. Look for Yandy (or others) to be bundled with some Rays R5 eligibles in a trade to avoid losing them for nothing in Dec 2022.
IF Jonathan Aranda looks like the best player the Rays recently coming from their MiLB system. I think he has more potential than Yu Chang.