The KC Royals roster is now down to 38 players, as the team announced last night that they non-tendered two players ahead of the deadline. One of those players was expected, the other was a bit of a surprise.
Former All-Star closer Greg Holland, who had Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2016 season, was non-tendered. He was arbitration eligible for the final time and was expected to make more than $11 million.
Also of note, Holland and the Royals were unable to reach a two-year, backloaded deal to keep Holland in Kansas City.
The surprise free agent was infielder Orlando Calixte, who supposedly impressed the big league coaching staff during his brief callups in the beginning of the season.
However, Calixte hit just .229 in 107 games with Triple-A Omaha and was not a September callup. He was also overlooked during the playoffs, when the Royals instead added Raul Mondesi, who had never played above the Double-A level before making his big league debut as a pinch-hitter in the World Series.
Calixte’s best year came in the second half of 2012 with High-A Wilmington (.281 with 17 doubles in 63 games). After that, he never hit better than .250. Once an every day shortstop, Calixte moved around the infield and outfield last season.
UPDATE: The Royals announced that they re-signed Calixte to a minor league contract. So much for alleviating the overcrowding of infielders at the upper levels of the minors.
Welcome back Orlando!
Earlier on Wednesday, the Royals designated catcher Francisco Pena for assignment. By Wednesday night, they had traded him to Baltimore for cash.
Matt Wieters, who will be a full year removed from Tommy John surgery, took the Orioles qualifying offer. He is the primary catcher, though backup Caleb Joseph did a fine job filling in over the last two seasons. Wieters’ health may be the reasoning behind the O’s trading for Pena, so as to possible carry three catchers, with Wieters serving more time as the DH.
I wish Pena luck out here on the East Coast with the Orioles!