The San Diego Padres have designated Carlos Asuaje for assignment to clear a roster spot.
Farewell, Carlos Asuaje. On Friday afternoon, the San Diego Padres officially announced the signing of starting pitcher Garrett Richards and the corresponding roster move needed to clear a spot on the 40-man. That move ended up being the removal of Carlos Asuaje, who may now be claimed by another franchise or sign elsewhere once he clears waivers.
Over parts of three seasons at the big league level, the infielder was never able to put it all together for San Diego. There was optimism for a positive 2018 season, this after posting a .270 average, .334 OBP, four home runs, and 14 doubles in 89 games in his 2017 rookie season. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old Asuaje managed just a .196/.286/.280/.566 line in 79 games this past season.
A 59 wRC+, -0.7 fWAR, and poor defensive metrics weren’t enough for Asuaje to stay on the roster as a utility player, especially with the addition of Greg Garcia and trade for Esteban Quiroz over the last few weeks. Reportedly, the Padres remain on the lookout for another utility infielder to add to the roster this offseason.
Asuaje will surely catch on with another franchise who believes they can work with his bat. Prospect reports on Asuaje were largely bullish on his hit tool and strike zone awareness, summarized by John Sickels here,
"He is a left-handed hitter, listed at 5-9, 160, born November 2nd, 1991. The profile hasn’t changed: he’s a line drive hitter with some gap power and a good eye for the strike zone. He doesn’t make tons of errors but his physical tools limit him to second base and left field, with third base an emergency option.Overall, Asuaje projects as a useful role player with some on-base skills."
Despite hitting .111 against left-handed pitching, Asuaje was 119 points better against RHP, drew a walk in 11% of his at-bats, and recorded at least one hit in 11 of his 16 games in the bigs after a month-long demotion to AAA (unfortunately, his brief uptick in production came to a screeching halt, recording a hit in just one of his final 20 games of the year). He also has an option remaining, which will help him catch on with another team.
A look back at the trade that brought him to the San Diego Padres.
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In his three seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Kimbrel has made three-straight All-Star games, recorded 108 saves, struck out 305 hitters in 184 innings, and posted a WHIP of 0.91. Fresh off winning a World Series ring, Kimbrel is now a free agent and seeking one of the largest deals ever given to a relief pitcher.
Javy Guerra is a glove-first shortstop who made his major league debut last season, going 2-16 with nine strikeouts, Asuaje is all but officially gone, and Manuel Margot took a step back in 2018. However, there is still plenty of time turn this trade into a positive one for San Diego.
Get ready for Logan Allen. After splitting his 2018 season between AA/AAA and recording a 2.54 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across 148 innings, Allen is ready to compete for a rotation spot in 2019 and just might be one of the more underrated prospects in the system.
It’s difficult to call the Padres 8th-ranked prospect underrated, but when he is overshadowed by MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon, Chris Paddack, and Michel Baez, Allen often gets overlooked. With a four-pitch mix, powerful fastball, and advanced feel for the game at 21 years of age, look for Logan Allen to make some serious noise in 2019.
As for now, this appears to be the end of the road for Carlos Asuaje in San Diego, a former Top-20 prospect of the Padres.