The Padres announced this afternoon they’ve designated outfielder Jorge Mateo for assignment. The move clears active roster space for left-hander Matt Strahm, who has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list.
San Diego acquired Mateo from the A’s last June. The former top prospect was out of minor league options, so the Padres had to keep him on the big league club (or injured list) in order to retain his long-term rights. The Friars have kept Mateo on the active roster over the past two seasons, although they’ve never seemed especially eager to give him regular playing time. The 26-year-old has tallied just 121 plate appearances over 79 games, serving mostly as a late-game pinch hitter, pinch runner or defensive replacement.
Mateo’s lack of roster flexibility made him something of an odd fit on a win-now Padres club. He hasn’t shown enough in his limited playing time to force his way into a more regular role, hitting .195/.235/.310 with terrible strikeout and walk rates (31.4% and 2.5%, respectively). That said, the Padres’ front office clearly remained intrigued by his physical gifts and one-time prospect status.
It’s certainly not inconceivable another club will give Mateo a look. He’ll be placed on waivers, and it’s possible a less immediate contender could place a claim and give him more consistent reps than San Diego could offer. Of course, any claiming team would also have to keep Mateo on the big league club or again expose him to waivers.
Strahm hasn’t pitched all season. The 29-year-old has missed the entire campaign recovering from right knee surgery. Last year, he worked 20 2/3 innings of 2.61 ERA/4.24 SIERA ball over nineteen appearances. Strahm will join Drew Pomeranz and Tim Hill as left-handed bullpen options for manager Jayce Tingler.