The Royals have agreed reliever Albert Abreu from the Rangers for minor league pitcher Yohanse Morel, according to announcements from both teams. Kansas City will announce additional corresponding moves once Abreu reports to the team in the coming days.
Abreu, 26, spent around two months in Arlington. Texas acquired him from the Yankees in exchange for backstop Jose Trevino in the week leading up to Opening Day. The Rangers had acquired Mitch Garver to join a catching group that also included Jonah Heim and Sam Huff, and they felt that freed them to deal from their group behind the plate in hopes of adding a potential long-term bullpen piece.
The acquisition didn’t pan out as the team had hoped, as Abreu struggled mightily over seven appearances. He only allowed three runs in 8 2/3 innings, but he walked 12 batters and surrendered a pair of home runs in that limited time. There’s little chance of Abreu sustaining an acceptable ERA so long as he’s struggling with free passes to that extent, and Texas designated him for assignment on Monday.
Strike-throwing has been a problem for Abreu throughout his professional career, albeit not quite to the extent it was during his limited time as a Ranger. A well-regarded prospect during his time in the Astros’ and Yankees’ farm systems, he was nevertheless forced to the bullpen because of a lack of control. That has been borne out in his big league work, as the Dominican Republic native walked an elevated 12.2% of opponents over 36 2/3 frames with New York last season — his first with an extended workload at the big league level.
That Abreu has attracted interest from a handful of teams in spite of his control problems is a testament to his high-octane stuff, however. He’s averaged nearly 98 MPH on his fastball in each of his past two seasons, showcasing elite arm speed. He backs that up with an upper-80s slider and changeup that each drew strong reviews from prospect evaluators, and the breaking ball has been a strong swing-and-miss offering at the MLB level.
More to come.