The Cubs announced they’ve claimed left-hander Anthony Kay off waivers from the Blue Jays. To clear a 40-man roster spot, first baseman Alfonso Rivas was designated for assignment.
Kay lost his spot on the Toronto roster last week once the team officially signed Chris Bassitt. The 27-year-old had spent three-plus years in the organization. A former first-round draftee of the Mets, Kay was acquired alongside Simeon Woods Richardson in the 2019 trade that landed now-teammate Marcus Stroman in Queens. He’d been in Triple-A at the time and debuted at the big league level with Toronto later in the season.
The UCONN product has appeared in the bigs in four straight years, though he’s yet to top 33 2/3 innings in a season. He made only one MLB appearance in 2022, bringing him to 28 for his career. Working mostly as a multi-inning reliever, Kay has a 5.48 ERA through 70 2/3 innings. He’s fanned a solid 23.5% of opponents but walked batters at an 11.6% clip.
Kay has pitched parts of three years at Triple-A. He’s struggled to a 6.02 ERA over that stretch, thanks in large part to an 11.5% walk rate. The 2022 campaign was a particular challenge. Limited to 14 Triple-A innings by injury, he allowed 14 runs in as many innings with 15 strikeouts and 11 free passes.
While he hasn’t found much high level success to date, Kay represents an intriguing bullpen flier for the Chicago staff. He averaged 94.5 MPH with above-average spin on his fastball during his MLB outing this past season. He’s shown the ability to miss a decent number of bats and has a notable prospect pedigree, and the Cubs will work to try to iron out his control woes. He has one minor league option year remaining, so the Cubs can bounce him between Chicago and Triple-A Iowa next season if he holds his 40-man spot.
Rivas was a fourth-round pick of the Athletics in 2018. He was dealt to Chicago for Tony Kemp a year and a half later. Rivas didn’t play in 2020 because of the minor league cancelation and has spent the past two seasons in the upper levels. He’s moved between Chicago and Iowa as a depth option. He has hit well in Triple-A, posting a .300/.398/.433 line across 377 plate appearances. Rivas flashed that offensive potential at the MLB level in 2021 but stumbled to a .235/.322/.307 mark over 287 trips to the dish this year.
The left-handed hitter has shown a patient plate approach, working plenty of walks but also striking out quite a bit. That’s largely a product of the deep counts with which he’s comfortable. Rivas doesn’t have prototypical power for a player who’s limited to first base or the corner outfield, hitting four homers and six doubles in 119 big league games.
Chicago will have a week to deal Rivas or try to run him through waivers. If another team were to put in a claim or swing a small trade, they could option him to the minors for another two seasons.
Solid claim. Maybe he becomes serviceable for CHC
Got get ‘em Tigers!
Well we definitely need a first baseman now.
Mervis , Bellinger, Wisdom all capable of playing 1B
Virtually cost nothing for a pitcher who throws 94-95 mph. The Cubs pitcher develop system is concidered one of the best for turning pitchers around. If he doesn’t turn it around nothing lost.
Sad to lose Rivas but the Cubs are loaded in the minors.
He wasn’t going to be the 1st baseman either way.
Dom Smith, Eric Hosmer & Luke Voit are still available lol.
rather take a chance on Mancini
Dom probably has the best glove at 1B.
That Tony Kemp for Rivas trade sure worked out for the Cubs.
There are a lot of trades Cubs fans will have regrets about. That one doesn’t even make the honorable mention section.
Dang right about that Matt. Every time the Cub fans watch those Oakland A’s championship parades they keep wondering what could have been.
Who is Tony Kemp? Some kind of all star?
Not an AS but he’s decent. Plays great defense (via the eyeball test, not WAR) at 2B and LF.
Yes, Kemp is underrated. He’s a good lead off hitter and plays solid defense with a lot of highlights at both 2B and OF (not sure why WAR is low on him) He’s also a great clubhouse player who brings chemistry to the team.
Heh, yeah. Kemp sure was a major part of the core
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I’m sure his command/control problems are something that the Cubs’ celebrated Pitch Lab will permanently solve. Or not.
Sure hope so. They have seemed to get more than some other teams by picking up disregarded arms for their BP. If he serves a purpose for even one season it’s a win!
True story, played against Kay in MLB the show once (and got absolutely whooped)
So u r not in HOF….
He’d whoop me, too.
It was a BR game, went up. 2-0 in the top of the first, I got cocky and careless, and he put up a 5 spot
If the Cubs use Kay correctly he can be good for them. He is a max effort one inning pitcher in the big leagues. Anything else won’t work out for him longterm at the big league level. The Jays didn’t use him correctly. Tell him to throw as hard as he can for one inning and only one inning. Period.
If this were 30 years ago, Kay maxing out at 94.5 MPH would make him a closer candidate. These days, it makes him a soft tossing mop up guy. But I hope he can figure something out and start locating his pitches.
Rivas was only good against the Pirates.
Hmmm….still a few to pick from but I thought Rivas was going to be a casualty of the 40 man with Barnhart and Smyly getting added with yesterday’s moves. I’m guessing a combo from Leiter/Rucker (maybe Wick) and either McKinstry/Mastrobuoni now.
Hey! So much for Alfonso Rivas III playing with Ed Howard IV someday.
I think Mastrobuoni is safe as he has three options left where McKinstry has none. They are basically the same player. Plus it would be a shame to not be able to snicker when announcing Mastrobuoni’s name.
Rivas has two options left. McKinstry should have been first to get designated.
Madrigal could be gone!
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This reminds me of that ad: “Every kiss begins with ‘K.'”
H E Pennypacker
Add Kay (bust) to the list of Mets top prospects that were traded in recent years that have not lived up to expectations: Kelenic (bust), Dunn (bust), Kay, Woods-Richardson (SP bust, reliever at best), Crow-Armstrong (torn labrum 2021, only in High-A), Ginn (tbd).
Say what you will about the Mets FO, but the seem to pick the right “top prospects” to trade away contrary to popular belief.
Jury’s out on PCW and Ginn until they make it to The Show. I wouldn’t hold your breath.
They’re going to evaluate their current stable and make another trade very soon. If I’m a betting man, they’ll pick the right guys to trade. Then again, I don’t like to bet!
The jury is out on Kelenic still. They sent him to a Buddhist Monchary to get straitened out. They have him meditating every other for 12 hours a day. Not sure if he reached nomostae yet or not. He has passed the walk on hot rocks phase now he is sleeping on a bed with nails coming out. Each time he gets a bad look on his face he gets beat with bamboo. He will be better next year. It is all true look it up.
H E Pennypacker
compassrose: As I read on it kept getting better and better! Thanks for the hearty laugh!!!
There’s no jury out on PCA. He had an amazing year and the Mets are still pissed they made that trade.
H E Pennypacker
He’s in High-A. Had a nice year. Both facts. Everything else is just your novice opinion. Jury’s out dude.
Afraid your wrong there, Judge Judy. One of their top 3 prospects and he had more than a nice year.
Insane take on PCA, who had a great year and is a consensus top 100 prospect. He isn’t “only” in High A, he’s a 20 year old who had success at a level where the average hitter is 22.5.
H E Pennypacker
Mr. Emanski: Per my post, the recent trade history doesn’t bode well for your take on PCW. Love your instructional videos though.
The Mets luck will end with PCA. He will be fast tracked if he has success in AA.
H E Pennypacker
Perhaps. Still think he’s Albert Almora when all is said and done. But please pump the brakes on putting him in the MVP race, will ya!? We all saw how that worked out with Kelenic and he gave us Edwin Diaz.
PCA is going to be AA??
Your talent evaluating skills are off the charts
Almora mostly lived up to his hype until that fateful day with the foul ball. Never the same player after that.
Yes, he was hitting .269 with seven HRs in late May plus good defensive stats when that happened.
He played 2022 in low and high A. Will almost certainly start 2023 in AA.
Woods Richardson is barely 22, a bit early to write his obituary also.
H E Pennypacker
He can’t throw above 91 anymore. As I wrote, he’s a SP bust. He may well become a nice reliever. But you don’t draft pitchers with the expectation that they’ll become relievers. So read what I wrote again. Cheers.
PCA is a bust? No.1 Cub prospect and ranked no. 30 in MLB ranking. Traded for Javier Báez and how did that work out for the Mets?
H E Pennypacker
Where did I write PCA is a bust? Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Now that you’re back – I said the jury is still out for a player who had a major shoulder surgery, has yet to crack AA, and has question marks about his power. When he mashes in AA, you guys can pound your chest.
It’s okay if Crow ends up like Almora with a little more bat. That’s not a slight to anyone other than Cubs fan’s dreaming on a savior.
By the way, a #1 prospect in the Cubs system is like saying your kid has the best grades out of all the kids in their pre-school class.
So…after reading this chain you basically said that the Mets were such a colossal failure at drafting and trading that they needed to be bailed out by a guy that just decided to buy players?
Nothing more powerful than teams that win championships on Christmas Day rather than close to Halloween.
H E Pennypacker
mike127: your lack of reading comprehension suggests you attended the same pre-school.
Not really penny—you stated that the Mets had all the prospects and traded them all and I look back at the last few handfuls of champions and don’t see the Mets listed.
I just suggested that they have shifted gears in an attempt to win (which they may).
It’s always astounding how people jump onto a story like Alfonso Rivas getting DFAd and trolling for no apparent reason.
There are probably very few people on here that have the actual knowledge nor know enough about real baseball talent to label PCA (or any of the others busts).
Kay has a good upside that pitch lab may tap. Rivas needs chance on team that can cover his original line drive style. Poor man s Mark Grace. Giants maybe? McKinstry definitely gets cut at this point. Others have use
Cubs make sure their bullpen can get the Kay.
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I can’t imagine that anybody claims Rivas at this point, unless SF wants a defensive replacement 1B to caddy for whichever outfielder they stick there.
Alfonso is KBO bound