The Mariners announced that infielder/outfielder Jake Lamb, designated for assignment earlier this week, has cleared waivers and rejected an outright assignment in favor of electing free agency. As a player with more than five years of MLB service time, Lamb has the right to reject an outright assignment without forfeiting any salary.
It’s been a mercurial season for Lamb, who turns 32 years old in a couple weeks. He began the year with the Dodgers on a minor league deal that would pay him $1.5MM in the majors, but he didn’t crack the Opening Day roster. He went down to Oklahoma City and crushed baseballs for a couple of months, socking 15 home runs in 61 games and slashing .290/.395/.537, wRC+ of 131.
The Dodgers selected his contract at the end of June and he continued hitting after his promotion, producing a line of .239/.338/.433 in 25 games with the Dodgers, good enough for a wRC+ of 120, or 20% above league average. Despite that solid showing, he was flipped to Seattle on deadline day for cash considerations.
Once he moved up the coast to Seattle, things look a turn for the worse. He struggled with his new team and saw his playing time dry up, only getting into five games in the month of September. Since the trade, he hit just .167/.265/.300 and lost his roster spot.
With just over a week remaining in the regular season, Lamb is now free to sign with any team, though he wouldn’t be eligible for the postseason. Teams can only include someone on their playoff roster if the player was in the organization prior to September 1. He can now be signed for the prorated league minimum with the Mariners on the hook for the remainder of his salary. Despite his recent downturn, Lamb should finish the season with an above-average batting line, barring an extended look elsewhere down the stretch. Between Los Angeles and Seattle, he hit .216/.315/.392 for a 105 wRC+ in 41 games. The veteran corner infielder has expanded his defensive repertoire in recent seasons to include corner outfield work.
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