On the team’s Twitter account, the Royals have announced that they’ve claimed outfielder Jimmy Paredes off of waivers. To make room for Paredes on the roster, Maikel Cleto has been designated for assignement. Paredes was recently designated for assignment by the Orioles, who had just picked him up off of waivers from the Marlins a couple of days ago. The Marlins claimed Paredes in November after being waived by the Astros. If you’re keeping track, that means the Royals will be the fourth organization to which Paredes will be a part of in the last 4 months. His agent has been busy.
Paredes played for the Astros last year, putting up a line of .192/.231/.248 in 135 plate appearances. In his big league career, the numbers aren’t much better, as he has just a .585 OPS in 396 plate appearances. Paredes exhibited some speed in the minors, stealing 166 stolen bases in 601 games, but he also was caught 53 times. His success rate has been much worse in the majors, with 11 stolen bases in 20 attempts. Defensively, he has experience in the outfield, at third base, and at second base. The Astros AAA affiliate had him play all over the field in the last couple of seasons, but it doesn’t appear that he plays any of the positions all that well. Judging by the Royals’ tweet, they intend for the 25 year old switch-hitter to be more of an outfielder.
Cleto was claimed off of waivers last June, and pitched fairly well for Omaha, with a 3.55 ERA in 38 innings for the Storm Chasers. He has a big fastball and good stuff, as evidenced by lofty strikeout rates, but he rarely knows where it’s going, as evidenced by lofty walk rates. For a team with a bevy of relief arms, Cleto’s presence on the roster seemed unnecessary, and while it is possible Cleto clears waivers and the Royals outright him to Omaha, I also wouldn’t be surprised if another team took a chance on the big young righty who can touch triple digits on the radar gun.
Speaking of clearing waivers, this move adds yet another contender to the upcoming battle for the fourth and fifth outfielder spots in Kansas City. With Jarrod Dyson, Justin Maxwell, and Carlos Peguero already in the fold, the Royals now have four outfielders – all without minor league options – from which to choose. Dyson’s excellent defense and outstanding speed should be enough to give him one of the spots, so it will likely come down to Maxwell, Peguero, and the newly acquired Paredes for the final spot. However, while Maxwell and Peguero both do something pretty well (hit for power), Paredes doesn’t seem to offer any elite tool. He doesn’t have much on-base ability outside of decent contact skills, he doesn’t have the power Maxwell and Peguero can provide, and his speed hasn’t resulted in much baserunning value. I’m not quite sure I understand this move for the Royals. Even if they were to eventually sneak Paredes through waivers and assign him to Omaha, they already have quite a few outfield candidates there to provide depth. I won’t call this a bad move, since it’s likely an inconsequential waiver claim (Chris Volstad, anyone?). I will say it’s a confusing move, however, and one that doesn’t appear to make all that much sense on the surface.