The Royals announced that infielder Hanser Alberto and right-hander Scott Blewett have cleared outright waivers and elected free agency. Kansas City’s 40-man roster tally now sits at 38, but they have an additional four players on the 60-day injured list who will need to be reinstated before the start of the offseason.
Alberto had been eligible for arbitration, so the Royals’ designation will function as an early non-tender. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected Alberto to land a $2.1MM salary in 2022, a price the club deemed too high after a below-average showing. It’s the second consecutive winter in which Alberto has been cut loose, as the Orioles non-tendered him last offseason.
Baltimore’s regular second baseman from 2019-20, Alberto signed a minor league deal with K.C. and cracked the Opening Day roster, locking in a $1.65MM salary. He spent the year in a utility role, starting games at each of third base, second base and shortstop. Over 255 plate appearances, the 29-year-old hit .270/.291/.402 with a pair of home runs.
Alberto has been one of the game’s tougher players to strike out in recent years, helping him post consistently strong batting averages. That has come with virtually no walks or power, though, capping his overall value. By measure of wRC+, Alberto was sixteen percentage points below the league average this past season, and his 1.4% walk rate was the second-lowest mark of the 362 hitters with 200+ plate appearances. He might be looking at another minors pact this winter.
Blewett was not arbitration eligible, but the Kansas City front office evidently determined they didn’t wish to devote him a 40-man roster spot all winter. Blewett was passed through outright waivers in April but re-selected to the big league club in September. He tossed five innings of one-run ball there, but he was far less effective with Triple-A Omaha.
The 25-year-old Blewett worked in a swing capacity for the Storm Chasers, tossing 69 innings in 23 appearances (including ten starts). He posted a 6.39 ERA, largely on account of the nineteen homers he served up. The Royals’ second-round pick in 2014, Blewett now hits the open market and could find himself in a different organization for the first time in his pro career.