The Royals announced Wednesday that they’ve requested unconditional release waivers on catcher Sebastian Rivero, whom they designated for assignment last week. He’d be a free agent upon clearing.
Being placed on release waivers surely isn’t how Rivero wanted to spend his 24th birthday, but that’s the position in which he finds himself. The Venezuelan-born backstop has appeared briefly in each of the past two big league seasons with the Royals but struggled to a .167/.236/.197 batting line in a tiny sample of 73 plate appearances. Rivero has had more success in Triple-A, albeit in a similarly small number of plate appearances. In 171 trips to the plate there, he’s slashed .266/.322/.380.
Rivero was optioned to the minors the maximum five times during the course of the 2022 season, plus another three times in 2021. The up-and-down nature of his time with the Royals over the past two seasons, coupled with the canceled 2020 minor league season, have played a role in limiting his overall experience in the upper minors. Despite debuting as a teenager back in 2016, Rivero has appeared in just 383 games as a professional. He sports an above-average 29% caught-stealing rate but has posted sub-par framing marks in the minors, per Baseball Prospectus. He’ll likely land with a team in need of some catching depth on a minor league deal this offseason.
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