The Rockies announced that four players — infielders Josh Fuentes and Rio Ruiz and right-handers Yency Almonte and Tommy Doyle — have cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Albuquerque. The moves bring Colorado’s 40-man roster tally down to 35, but the Rox will have to reinstate four players from the 60-day injured list before the start of the offseason.
Fuentes has appeared in the majors in each of the last three seasons, garnering his most significant playing time in 2021. The 28-year-old tallied 284 trips to the plate this year, but he hit just .225/.257/.351 with seven homers despite playing his home games at Coors Field. Fuentes hasn’t performed well at the big league level, but he’s a career .291/.329/.489 hitter over parts of three years at Triple-A.
Ruiz, 27, was once a fairly well-regarded prospect. He’s gotten to the majors in each of the last six years but has never hit at a particularly high level. The right-handed hitter got regular run with the Orioles from 2019-21, opening this past season as Baltimore’s starting second baseman. But he managed just a .220/.292/.380 line with the O’s before being let go.
Colorado claimed Ruiz off waivers in May, and he stuck on the 40-man roster for the entire season. He picked up only 40 big league plate appearances, spending most of his time in Albuquerque. Ruiz is a .270/.337/.423 hitter in parts of five Triple-A campaigns, including a .304/.361/.496 mark with the Isotopes this past season.
Almonte, also 27, has pitched for Colorado in each of the last four years. He worked to a 2.93 ERA with a huge 56.3% ground-ball rate in 27 2/3 innings in 2020, but the wheels fell off this year. Over 47 2/3 frames, Almonte managed just a 7.55 ERA with worse-than-average strikeout (21.7%), walk (13.4%) and grounder (41.9%) percentages.
Doyle made his MLB debut in 2020, getting a three-game cameo. He didn’t pitch in the big leagues this past season, instead spending almost the entire year on the minor league injured list. The 25-year-old still has just 11 2/3 innings above A-ball in his professional career — 2 1/3 MLB frames in 2020 and 9 1/3 innings with Double-A Hartford in 2021.
Fuentes, Ruiz and Almonte have all appeared in seven-plus minor league seasons. They’ll all qualify for minor league free agency this winter, assuming the Rockies don’t pivot and reselect them back onto the 40-man. Doyle does not have the requisite service time to reject an outright assignment, so he’ll stick in the organization. He’ll presumably get a spring training invitation in 2022 and look to pitch his way back onto the roster.