The Rockies announced Monday that outfielder Yonathan Daza went unclaimed on waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Albuquerque. He’d been designated for assignment last Friday but will remain with the organization and no longer occupy a spot on the 40-man roster, as he doesn’t have the necessary service time to reject the outright assignment.
Daza, 29, has been a semi-regular presence in the Colorado outfield over the past three seasons, posting a strong batting average but offering minimal power with a marginal walk rate. He’s a .290/.338/.369 hitter with just four home runs and three stolen bases in 819 plate appearances dating back to the 2021 season. So far in 2023, Daza has gotten out to a .270/.304/.351 start with a career-worst 3.8% walk rate.
While Daza has experience at all three outfield spots, he’s generally drawn poor defensive grades for his work in center field. He’s received stronger but not elite marks for his work in the left field, but his general lack of offense aside from that fairly empty batting average doesn’t play as well in the corners. He’s also out of minor league options, so the Rockies couldn’t send him down without first designating him for assignment and sending him through waivers; conversely, any team that placed a claim on Daza would’ve had to carry him on its active roster.
With Daza pushed to the side for now, the Rockies will roll with an outfield of Jurickson Profar in left field, Randal Grichuk in center and Kris Bryant in right. Recent call-up Brenton Doyle is currently operating as the fourth outfielder, and while he’s had some issues making contact, he’s already displayed more power than Daza and stolen more bases in 11 games (five) than Daza has in his career (four). Both Daza and Doyle are right-handed hitters, and it seems the Rockies simply feel Doyle, a 2019 fourth-round pick who’s five years younger, is the superior option for the role that’s currently available.
The Rockies are generally thin on center field depth, so with an injury to either Grichuk or Doyle, it’s plenty feasible that they’ll select Daza’s contract and bring him back to the big league roster. For now, his DFA and subsequent outright will allow the Rox to take a look at Doyle, a younger player with more club control and an intriguing blend of power and speed — albeit with plenty of questions about his ability to make contact (career 29.8% strikeout rate in the minors).
Bryant, Grichuk and Doyle might be the best starting three with Blackmon at DH and Profar as OF 4.
I get that he doesn’t fit the prototype for a LF due to no power but surely, there are teams out there that don’t currently have his stats for their 4th OFer!
I don’t know. They see he shows little power at Coors which means the HRs will be few and far between elsewhere. Not surprised he went unclaimed.
I think he is at league minimum pre-arb. Padres currently have had Azocar and Odor in that spot for example. They have Engel (just recently taking Azocar for an 15 Il spot) and Dahl returning soon from IL so they are better “what if’s” than Daza but still some other team doesn’t take a no risk flyer? I guess the 40 spot may have been the catch.