San Diego Padres outfielder Matt Szczur has elected for free agency.
The Padres designated Szczur for assignment on July 1st after appearing in 57 games for San Diego as a reserve outfielder. He hit .187 with a .265 on-base percentage, recording three doubles, one home run, three stolen bases, and eight walks in 75 at-bats.
After clearing waivers, Szczur accepted an assignment to the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas, deciding to play every day in the minors, rather than remaining in a reserve role with another organization. However, he appeared in just 10 games with the Chihuahuas, hitting .316 during his short stint.
Too many outfielders for the San Diego Padres.
The move is not a surprising one, considering the extreme depth at the outfield position in San Diego. Unless a move is made, the Padres will feature Franmil Reyes, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Travis Jankowski, and Franchy Cordero in the outfield. There’s also the possibility of Wil Myers moving back to the outfield.
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Jankowski is the perfect fourth-outfielder, late-inning defensive substitute option, leaving no room on the active roster for Matt Szczur.
Coming up through the Chicago farm system, Szczur was a three-time MiLB All-Star and competed in the 2011 MLB Future’s Game but has yet to pan out as a full-time Major League Baseball outfielder.
The former fifth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs has a slash line of .231/.312/.355/.666 over his five-year career. He’s collected 31 doubles, three triples, and 12 home runs.
The market for Szczur may not be very big, however, a rebuilding team in need of a fourth/fifth-outfielder may take a shot at the 29-year-old right-handed hitter. If he is signed by another organization, it will be on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Over his nine-year minor league career, Szczur hit .282 with a .347 OBP and 140 stolen bases.