The Indians announced Friday that outfielder Domingo Santana has been assigned outright to their alternate training site after he went unclaimed on waivers. Because Santana was outrighted to the alternate site, he remains in Cleveland’s player pool and is eligible to rejoin the club later this season if they wish to again add him to the 40-man roster. The club also released infielder/outfielder Jake Elmore, who’d been in the 60-player pool.
Cleveland bought low on Santana this winter, signing him to a one-year, $1.5MM contract with a 2021 club option after he was non-tendered by the Mariners. The hope was surely that he could rebound closer to the .278/.371/.505, 30-homer form he showed with Milwaukee in 2017, but Santana struggled through one of the worst showings of his career with his new club. Appearing in 24 games and taking 84 plate appearances, the 28-year-old hit just .157/.298/.286 with a pair of homers and three doubles.
Santana did manage a hearty 15.5 percent walk rate, but he also struck out in 30 percent of his plate appearances. Meanwhile, his average exit velocity was down 3.5 mph from its 2019 levels, per Statcast, and his hard-hit rate fell by seven percent. He might return later this month, but suffice it to say, his $5MM club option won’t be picked up.
The 32-year-old Elmore signed a minor league deal with the Indians back in early July and spent Summer Camp with the team, but he has not been called up from their alternate site to this point. Elmore has appeared in 217 games at the big league level and logged 527 plate appearances.
Though he’s just a .215/.292/.275 hitter in that time, Elmore has demonstrated as much versatility as anyone in baseball. In 2013, the Astros used him at every position on the diamond — including catcher and pitcher. Elmore has at least 106 innings at all four infield spots, 234 innings in the outfield (including 14 in center) and has also caught 4 1/3 innings and pitched two frames (one run allowed) in the Majors.