Catcher Freddy Fermin
Catcher Freddy Fermin has only four days of MLB service time, but he is one of the better players stuck in Triple-A Omaha. A logjam at catcher makes him expendable if the Royals want to improve in other areas.
The Venezuelan joined the Royals as an international free agent in 2015, and stayed in rookie ball until his Single-A debut in 2019. Since then, he has always been promoted to the next level in the same season and is an Omaha mainstay right now. His arm strength and receiving skills have been a gift to Triple-A pitchers, and he has plenty of experience with many young pitchers in Kansas City.
After making his MLB debut on July 15, 2022, Fermin had a very productive winter. He earned the 2022-2023 MVP honors in the Venezuelan Winter League, and was the league's unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year. His bat exploded down south, with his .404 batting average leading the league and his 1.048 OPS ranking second. The hitting prowess was not terribly surprising after Fermin posted career-highs in home runs, OPS, and hits in 87 Triple-A games.
So, why isn't he in Kansas City? Well, The Royals want to give MJ Melendez more opportunities behind the plate, and veteran Salvador Perez is still a Royals mainstay. That keeps Fermin's options pretty short for the foreseeable future. His ceiling in Kansas City is second-fiddle to at least Melendez if not Perez as well. He did everything he could to make the Opening Day roster in 2023, but the Royals still optioned him back to Omaha. The Royals simply do not have a need for him right now. If another team comes calling and wants Fermin on his own or as a trade sweetener, why say no? The 27-year-old Fermin can likely be a starting option for another desperate team today.