The Guardians announced Friday that they’ve designated first baseman Alfonso Rivas for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to catcher Austin Hedges, whose one-year deal to return to Cleveland is now official. The Guardians will have a week to trade Rivas, pass him through outright waivers or release him.
Rivas came to the Guardians in an offseason waiver claim from the Pirates. He’s never appeared in a game for the organization. The 27-year-old has logged big league time in each of the past three seasons, suiting up for the Cubs, Padres and Bucs. While Rivas had a productive rookie showing with Chicago in ’21, slashing .318/.388/.409 in a tiny sample of 49 plate appearances, he’s followed that up with a .233/.316/.342 showing in 410 plate appearances from 2022-23.
Although his production hasn’t carried over to the big leagues, Rivas is an accomplished Triple-A hitter with a .313/.424/.492 slash in parts of four seasons at that level. He’s walked at a gaudy 15.1% clip in Triple-A and fanned at a slightly lower-than-average 21% as well. While Rivas doesn’t have immense power, he’s smacked 40 doubles and 15 round-trippers in 637 trips to the plate at the Triple-A level. It’s an impressive track record of production in the upper minors — one that has clearly piqued the interest of multiple teams.
Rivas still has one minor league option remaining, so for a team looking to add a potential high-OBP left-handed bat to its depth chart or perhaps even its bench competition, Rivas makes some sense — either via waiver claim or low-cost trade.