Infielder Johan Camargo has been released by the Royals, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com. MLBTR has learned that he triggered an opt-out in his deal. The Octagon client is now on the open market and free to sign with any club.
Camargo, 29, signed a minor league deal with the Royals this winter. He began the year on the minor league injured list but joined Triple-A Omaha in mid-May. That’s limited him to just 68 plate appearances in 15 games so far this year, but he has made the most of those. He has walked and struck out 11 times each for a strong 16.2% rate in both categories while hitting four home runs in that brief spell. His .298/.412/.544 batting line amounts to a 140 wRC+, indicating he’s been 40% better than league average in that time.
That’s a small sample of Triple-A work, but it’s understandable that Camargo would want to use that platform to survey the open market if the Royals weren’t willing to call him up. He also has plenty of major league work on his résumé, though generally as a light-hitting utility player. He’s hit .255/.313/.410 over the past six major league seasons with Atlanta and Philadelphia, which translates to a wRC+ of 90. He’s done so while spending time at all four infield positions as well as the outfield corners. He’s also a switch-hitter, which adds to his versatility.
Given his track record and strong start this year, he could have earned himself a promotion into a big league bench job. The Royals have a regular infield mix consisting of Bobby Witt Jr., Michael Massey, Maikel Garcia, Nicky Lopez and Nick Pratto, with Matt Duffy currently serving as the veteran utility guy off the bench. Duffy has a strong .312/.365/.403 line on the year and the club will seemingly stick with him instead of turning to Camargo.
That will allow Camargo the chance to look for opportunities elsewhere. Plenty of clubs around the league are dealing with significant injuries and they could be intrigued by a versatile player who’s been hot of late. If he is able to get himself back onto a 40-man roster, he is out of options but he could be retained via arbitration for 2024 since he won’t be able to get to six years of service time this year.