The Rays claim Yu Chang pirates, tweet Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Pittsburgh designated the infielder for assignment last week. To create a spot on the 40-man roster, Tampa Bay traded second baseman Brandon Lowe from the injured list from 10 days to 60 days.
Chang is heading into his third organization of the season. A longtime member of Cleveland’s farm system, the right-handed hitter played with the MLB club every year between 2019-22. Despite a decent prospect pedigree, Chang never got regular playing time in an infield series. generally strong, and he struggled when he found his name in training. The Taiwan native hit just .208 / .265 / .372 with a high strikeout rate of 28.5% in 358 plate appearances in Cleveland, bouncing on and off the active roster in his first three years.
That reshuffle exhausted all of Chang’s minor league option years, and the Guardians had to bring him to the big league roster or remove him from the 40-man roster this season. They kept him in the big leagues for a few months, but finally designated him for assignment at the end of May. Pittsburgh acquired him for cash considerations a few days later, but Chang continued to brawl during his month in the Steel City.
In 18 games as a pirate, Chang hit .135/.237/.212 with a strikeout percentage of 42.4% (18 in 49 plate appearances). The Bucs quickly moved on and the Rays became the next team to take a low-risk shot to see if they can unlock some of their advantage. Chang appeared on Baseball America’s ranking of Cleveland’s top 30 prospects each season from 2015-21, praising his discipline at the plate, useful power and ability to play all around the infield. However, as he reached the upper levels, Chang showed an alarming propensity to swing and miss.
It’s possible that Chang’s stay in Tampa Bay will also be brief. Because he is out of options, he must remain on the active roster or be re-nominated for an assignment. The Rays have good inside depth of field, with Take a walk Franco well established at shortstop and hitter isaac paredes bouncing between second and third base. Yandy Diaz is handy as a corner option, while former top prospects Taylor Walls and Vidal Brujan can cover virtually anywhere on dirt. Each of Walls and Bruján have struggled at home plate this season and there are still options though, so the Rays could decide to send either player back to Triple-A Durham once Chang reports. to the team.
The on-court mix will only get deeper once Lowe is able to make a comeback. The Tampa Bay starting second baseman has been out since May 16 as he battled a stress reaction in his lower back. Today’s transfer rules him out for 60 days from that initial placement, meaning he’ll be eligible to return just around the All-Star break.
Lowe began batting practice last week, but manager Kevin Cash noted at the time that he was still a long way from returning to MLB action (Topkin Link). He will surely have to head for a rehab mission in the minor leagues before returning to big league training, so the decision to move him to the 60-day IL comes as no surprise.