The Padres announced this evening they’ve claimed right-hander Kyle Tyler off waivers from the Angels. In a corresponding move, reliever Javy Guerra has been designated for assignment.
It’s the second time in three weeks the Friars have claimed Tyler, who has made the run through the waiver wire since the end of the lockout. Originally an Angel, he was designated for assignment and landed with the Red Sox. Boston designated him a few days later, and San Diego claimed him. The Padres waived him last week, and the Angels grabbed him back. Two days after that, Los Angeles tried to pass him through waivers again. As it has for the past three times, that effort failed, and Tyler winds up changing hands.
While his name has made its way around the transaction log, Tyler himself has been shuttled around the country reporting to various destinations. The righty tells Sam Blum of the Athletic he’s flown from Arizona to Florida, back to Arizona, to Washington state, then to his Oklahoma City home within the past couple weeks as he’s bounced from team to team. “I’m ready for this to stop and to just have the opportunity to play, and prove my worth,” he told Blum.”(Show) whether I’m good enough to be on a 40-man roster to stay there.”
Tyler started 14 of his 20 appearances between Double-A Rocket City and Triple-A Salt Lake last season. He worked 86 innings of 3.66 ERA ball between the two levels, punching out a solid 25.3% of opponents against an impressive 6.9% walk rate. Baseball America ranked the University of Oklahoma product #39 in the Angels farm system this winter, praising his above-average command. With all three minor league option years remaining, he’s proven an appealing depth add for a few organizations but has lost his roster spot at each turn before having a chance to pitch.
This time around, Tyler must have almost passed through unclaimed. Jayson Stark of the Athletic reported last month the new collective bargaining agreement dictates a team that has already claimed a player off waivers moves to the back of the order if that player is waived again for the rest of the season. That indicates that at least every team besides the Red Sox passed on Tyler before the Padres got a chance to bring him back into the fold.
If they keep him on the 40-man roster this time, San Diego can stash Tyler in the upper minors as depth. That wasn’t the case for Guerra, who is out of options. The Friars were left to either carry him on the big league club or remove him from the 40-man entirely.
A former well-regarded shortstop prospect, Guerra moved to the mound in 2019 after his bat stalled out in the upper minors. He was already on the 40-man roster by virtue of his time as an infielder. That didn’t afford the organization much time to experiment with him in the minor leagues, as Guerra had exhausted his final option year in 2019. San Diego was reluctant to expose the right-hander to waivers, as his fastball routinely threatened triple digits.
Guerra’s inexperience on the mound was evident in his results, however. He owns an 8.46 ERA in 27 2/3 MLB innings, striking out just 16.5% of batters faced with an underwhelming 8% swinging strike rate. The Friars were clearly reluctant to risk losing Guerra in the belief he has the potential for better numbers, but they’ll take the chance to bring Tyler back and get a little more roster flexibility in the bullpen. San Diego has a week to trade Guerra or try to pass him through waivers.