The Cleveland Indians recently designated a former top prospect for assignment, and he is a player the Pittsburgh Pirates should consider pursuing
MLB teams are now shrinking their roster sizes down as the deadline to cut thier 30-man rosters to 28 has come and gone. This might leave a few really interesting players begin designated for assignment. Recently, the Cleveland Indians designated Christian Arroyo for assignment, and he could be an interesting potential claim for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Arroyo had no options left, and is someone I pointed out as a player the Pirates should show interest in back before Spring Training started.
Arroyo has bounced around the past few seasons. He was originally a top prospect in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system. Arroyo’s value was at its highest after the 2017 season. He entered the year as MLB Pipeline’s 89th best prospect. Though he spent most of the year on the injured list, Arroyo had batted really well in the 102 plate appearances he received at Triple-A, as he had 36 hits, four of which were home runs, walked six times and struck out 12 times.
102 plate appearances isn’t a big sample size, but he also appeared in the Majors. While he did struggle through the first 135 plate appearances of his career, which again, small sample size, but he showed solid defense up the middle and at third base. After the 2017 season, he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for former American League Rookie of the Year and three time all-star Evan Longoria.
In the last two seasons, Arroyo has seen sparse time in the MLB. With the Rays, the former top 100 prospect has only received 116 plate appearances, and has hit .243/.322/.388 with three home runs and a 93 OPS+. He also hasn’t gotten to play much at all because he has been placed on the injured list multiple times.
Last year at Triple-A, Arroyo was batting .314/.383/.603 with eught home runs and a 147 wRC+, albeit through just 134 plate appearances. With the Rays having young and extremely talented prospects at every infield position, Arroyo wasn’t going to find any playing time in Tampa.
So that’s when he was shipped to the Cleveland Indians with relief pitcher Hunter Wood. This marked the end of the second team Arroyo has been on, and now the third team he would start with. However, with his injuries, Arroyo wouldn’t play any minor league games for the Indians, and played his first game with the team on June 26th.
The Indians also have a hard time finding playing time for Christian with Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez firmly planted at shortstop and third base, Carlos Santana locking down first, and Cesar Hernandez covering second.
Arroyo has had some really bad luck the last few years. Injuries haven’t gone his way and every team he has been on has had other players blocking him from getting any playing time. Despite that, he’s been a really solid batter at Triple-A. His career Triple-A slash line is .298/.359/.487 with 14 home runs through 418 plate appearances. Plus, he was ranked as a top 100 prospect as recently as in 2018.
Taking a low risk flyer on Arroyo wouldn’t hurt anything. Only two Pittsburgh Pirates currently have at least 25 plate appearances and an OPS+ above 100, that being Colin Moran and Phillip Evans. There’s no guarantee that Arroyo will turn out, but if the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t have to give up anything more than money, then it would be worth taking a shot on this former prospect.