The Padres have selected the contract of outfielder Abraham Almonte, as Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune was among those to cover on Twitter. He’ll take the active roster spot of righty Jerad Eickhoff, who was optioned down.
More to come …
The Padres announced today that they have added left-handed pitcher Daniel Camarena, right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis, and outfielder Abraham Almonte to the 60-man player pool. In addition, lefty Tim Hill, acquired from the Royals on Thursday, has reported to Padres camp. After the roster moves, there are 55 players in the Padres’ pool.
Yacabonis broke into the Majors in 2017 with the Orioles, and has appeared in parts of three seasons with Baltimore. He’s gotten playing time as both a starter and reliever, though he hasn’t found great success in either role. In 41 innings last year, he struck out 33 batters but walked 24, also struggling to prevent home runs. His career ERA is 5.75. He figures to settle into a relief role with the Padres, though he’s a longshot to crack the Opening Day roster.
Almonte, a switch-hitting 31-year-old outfielder, was brought aboard on a minor league contract last December, getting a bid in Padres camp as a non-roster invitee. It’s his second stint in San Diego, as he spent parts of 2014 and 2015 with the team. Last year, he played in 17 games for the Diamondbacks. For his career, he owns a .239/.298/.373 batting line, also making stops with the Mariners, Indians, and Royals.
Camarena, 27, has yet to debut in the Majors since the Yankees made him a 20th-round draft choice in 2011. He’s also made stints with the Twins and Giants before the Yankees re-signed in 2019. He’s reached Triple-A in each of the last four years, but has failed to find sustained success at the level. Last year, he played in 18 games at Triple-A, notching a 6.27 ERA. He threw 103 1/3 innings and posted 94 strikeouts.
Baseball America has posted its traditional roundup of minor moves dating to the start of the offseason. We’ve already covered quite a few of the transactions over the past several weeks, but there are several additions on minor-league pacts that have to this point eluded detection …
The Diamondbacks announced that they won’t be exercising their club options on either infielder Wilmer Flores or left-hander T.J. McFarland. Flores’ $6MM option will be bought out for $500K, while McFarland will receive a $50K buyout rather than a $1.85MM salary for the 2020 season. In addition to these moves, the D’Backs also announced that outfielder Abraham Almonte and lefty Robby Scott have been outrighted to Triple-A.
Though a right foot contusion cost him almost two months of the season, Flores’ first year in Arizona was a successful one when he was able to take the field. The 28-year-old hit .317/.361/.387 over 285 PA, and while a particular power surge against left-handed pitching led to some significant splits (.337/.367/.615 against lefties, .304/.358/.404 against righties), Flores was still plenty dangerous against all types of pitching.
Flores was primarily used at second base last year, handling the keystone whenever Ketel Marte wasn’t in center field. Given that the D’Backs will again look to move Marte around the diamond next year, retaining Flores for the extra $5.5MM wouldn’t have seemed like an exorbitant choice. Then again, the team might not have expected Flores to duplicate his 2019 performance, given that Flores’ .362 wOBA far outpaced his .329 xwOBA, and he also had some notable batted-ball luck in the form of a .332 BABIP.
It isn’t out of the question that the Diamondbacks could look to re-sign Flores at a lesser price, though one would imagine he’ll get interest from multiple teams looking for a versatile infielder (Flores also saw a lot of action at third base during his time with the Mets) who can crush southpaws.
After posting a 2.00 ERA over 72 frames for Arizona in 2018, McFarland’s bottom-line numbers (4.82 ERA) came back down to earth last year, even though a lot of his peripheral statistics weren’t too dissimilar. The grounder specialist ran into trouble when he did let the ball get into the air last year, as McFarland’s 17.1% home run rate was a career high.
We’ll track the flurry of notable callups as roster expand on September 1.
The Diamondbacks have signed veteran outfielder Abraham Almonte to a minor league pact with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. He’s represented by ISE Baseball. The actual signing took place last week, it seems, though the D-backs didn’t formally announce the move themselves, so it flew largely under the radar. The only acknowledgment of the move came from the D-backs’ Triple-A affiliate, on Twitter.
Almonte, 29, tallied 151 plate appearances with the Royals this past season but mustered just a .179/.260/.284 slash in that time. Almonte enjoyed a solid 2015 run with the Indians but has turned in a trio of underwhelming performances since that half season, hitting a combined .230/.292/.357 in 540 plate appearances between Cleveland and Kansas City. In all, the switch-hitter has a career .662 OPS but has drawn positive defensive marks at all three outfield spots — including +9 Defensive Runs Saved and a 5.0 Ultimate Zone Rating in 1283 innings of center field duty.
[Related: Arizona Diamondbacks depth chart]
Outfield depth will be an area of focus for the D-backs this offseason, as A.J. Pollock is likely to sign elsewhere after rejecting Arizona’s qualifying offer. Jon Jay, too, is a free agent this winter, while part-time outfielder Chris Owings stands out as a non-tender candidate after a miserable finish to his 2018 season. David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson, Steven Souza Jr. and Socrates Brito are all internal options in the outfield, and there’s also been some talk of moving Ketel Marte to center field, as Zach Buchanan of The Athletic recently explored (subscription link).
July 19: Rather than place Almonte on outright waivers in an attempt to keep him in the organization for depth purposes, the Royals have simply released Almonte, per the team’s transactions log at MLB.com.
July 16: The Royals announced on Monday that they’ve designated outfielder Abraham Almonte for assignment. His roster spot will go to infielder/outfielder Rosell Herrera, who has been reinstated from the paternity list.
Almonte, 29, was claimed off waivers by the Royals back in the first week of the season but hasn’t produced in 151 plate appearances over the course of 50 games, batting just .179/.260/.284. Almonte has, at times in the past, been a plus defender and baserunner, but he’s been about a run below average in center field (per both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved) and has gone 2-for-4 in stolen base attempts this season.
The Royals will have a week to either trade, outright or release Almonte. He has enough service to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency, though he’d sacrifice the remainder of his $825K salary for the 2018 season by going that route, so it seems likely that he’ll remain in the organization if he clears waivers.
The Royals announced that they’ve placed left fielder Alex Gordon on the 10-day disabled list with a labral tear in his left hip. Recently claimed outfielder Abraham Almonte has been recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take his place. Kansas City didn’t provide an immediate timeline within its announcement, though manager Ned Yost suggests that the injury may not be as bad as it sounds (Twitter link via Rustin Dodd of The Athletic). Yost said that Gordon will be re-evaluated in five days and could return as soon as two weeks down the road in a best-case scenario.
Gordon, 34, inked a franchise record four-year, $72MM contract with the Royals in the 2015-16 offseason. At the time, the left fielder had made three consecutive All-Star teams and been one of the key factors in the Royals’ return to prominence in the American League Central. From 2011-15, Gordon slashed .281/.359/.450 (121 OPS+) and took home four Gold Glove Awards. Baseball-Reference pegged his efforts at 27.2 wins above replacement in that five-year peak, while Fangraphs credited him with 24 WAR.
However, Gordon’s production immediately went south in the first season of a four-year contract that has transformed from a cause for celebration among Royals fans to an albatross deal for the franchise. Since Opening Day 2016, Gordon has posted a woeful .213/.300/.343 slash in 1071 plate appearances, missing time along the way with a fractured right wrist (in May 2016). He’s still owed $20MM in 2018 and 2019, plus a $4MM buyout of a mutual option for the 2020 season.
The Royals have claimed outfielder Abraham Almonte off waivers from the Indians and designated right-hander Miguel Almonte for assignment, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Cleveland had designated the former of the two for assignment when setting its Opening Day roster.
Abraham Almonte, 28, was on the outside looking in of a jam-packed outfield mix in Cleveland. He’ll have a clearer path to playing time in Kansas City, where Jon Jay, Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler and Paulo Orlando comprise the primary outfield unit in the Majors in the wake of Jorge Bonifacio’s 80-game PED suspension. The switch-hitting Almonte had a strong half-season showing for the Tribe in 2015 but missed half the 2016 campaign due to an 80-game PED suspension and hit just .249/.304/.384 in 389 plate appearances from 2016-17.
As for Miguel Almonte, who’ll turn 25 on Wednesday, the hard-throwing righty has long ranked as one of the Royals’ top organizational prospects, but his star has faded in recent seasons. He’s tossed 10 2/3 innings in the Majors between 2015-17, but he’s yet to establish himself at the game’s top level. Injuries have played a massive role in stalling the younger Almonte’s development. Last season, he threw just two innings with Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, and Flanagan tweets today that Almonte had been ticketed for the minor league disabled list to open the season due to posterior shoulder soreness.
The Indians have designated outfielder Abraham Almonte and right-hander Ben Taylor for assignment in order to clear roster spots for veterans Matt Belisle and Rajai Davis, whose contracts have been selected from Triple-A Columbus. Michael Brantley, Giovanny Urshela, Danny Salazar and Ryan Merritt will open the season on the 10-day disabled list.
Davis will return for a second tour of duty in Cleveland, where he’s already established himself in Indians lore thanks to his dramatic Game 7 home run off Aroldis Chapman in the 2016 World Series. Davis paced the AL with 43 steals for Cleveland that season, and he racked up 29 steals with just 366 plate appearances between the A’s and Red Sox last season. Now 37 years of age, he’ll give the Indians plenty of speed off the bench and an established bat against left-handed pitching.
Belisle, meanwhile, gives manager Terry Francona a veteran bullpen arm that struggled early in the 2017 campaign with the Twins but rebounded to dominate over the season’s final four months. Over his final 38 1/3 innings last year, Belisle worked to a 1.41 ERA with a terrific 36-to-8 K/BB ratio and just four homers allowed. Following the trade of Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals, Belisle picked up nine saves as the closer in Minnesota.
Almonte, 28, was on the outside looking in for a Cleveland outfield mix that features Bradley Zimmer, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brandon Guyer, Davis and, once he’s healthy, Brantley. The switch-hitting Almonte had a strong half-season showing for the Tribe in 2015 but missed half the 2016 campaign due to an 80-game PED suspension and hit just .249/.304/.384 in 389 plate appearances from 2016-17.
The 26-year-old Taylor was a seventh-round pick of the Red Sox in 2015. He saw his first major league action last season and tossed 17 1/3 innings of 5.19 ERA, notching 9.35 K/9, 4.67 BB/9 and a paltry 26.4 percent ground-ball rate along the way. Taylor was more successful in his Triple-A debut in 2017, albeit over an even smaller sample (13 1/3 frames), as he worked to a 2.70 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.38 BB/9 and a 45.5 percent grounder mark.