The Padres announced they’ve designated reliever Kyle Tyler for assignment. San Diego also sent righty Pedro Avila — whom the club hadn’t previously indicated was in DFA limbo — outright to Triple-A after he went unclaimed on waivers. The moves clear a pair of 40-man roster vacancies for Adrian Morejón and Michel Báez, each of whom have been reinstated from the 60-day injured list and optioned to the minor leagues.
Tyler is no stranger to the DFA process, as he was something of the 41st man for a few teams earlier this season. The righty was successively designated for assignment and waived by the Angels, Red Sox, Padres and Angels a second time before being claimed off waivers by the Friars (for the second time in as many months) on April 12. At that point, he finally stuck on a 40-man roster for a couple months, but he’ll lose his spot yet again after a rough start to the season at Triple-A El Paso.
The 25-year-old has tossed 16 2/3 innings across 11 outings with the Chihuahuas, posting a 5.51 ERA. Tyler has punched out a solid 26.8% of batters faced but walked an untenable 19.7% of opponents. That marked a rather surprising turn of events for the former 20th-round pick, who had filled up the strike zone for essentially his entire minor league career prior to this season. That track record earned him his first five big league outings with the Halos last season and caught the attention of a few organizations during the first few weeks of this year. Tyler will now be traded or waived yet again in the coming week.
Avila has gotten to the big leagues in three of the past four years, but he’s made just four cumulative appearances. A well-regarded prospect early in his pro career, he’s seen his stock dip since undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2019. He didn’t pitch in 2020 and spent almost all of last season in the upper minors after being non-tendered and re-signed to a minor league deal. San Diego selected him to make a start during last season’s final weekend after falling out of playoff contention, and he’d been on the 40-man roster since then.
He’s spent the bulk of this season as a member of the Chihuahuas, only making two MLB appearances. Avila has a disappointing 8.10 ERA in El Paso, where he’s allowed five homers in 23 1/3 frames and walked 15.6% of batters faced. That rough stretch cost the 25-year-old his roster spot. Avila has never been outrighted in his career and has barely any MLB service time, so he can’t refuse the assignment. He’ll remain in El Paso and try to earn another MLB crack.
Morejón will also be on that roster for the time being, as San Diego has optioned him to Triple-A. A one-time top pitching prospect, the southpaw opened last season in the Friars’ rotation. He required Tommy John surgery after just two starts, though, and the procedure obviously ended his campaign before it really got going. Morejón opened this year on the IL as he continued his recovery, but he’s spent the past few weeks in the minors on a rehab appearance. The 23-year-old has thus far topped out at three innings in a game as the team gradually builds his arm strength back.
Pitchers are allotted up to 30 days for rehab stints (although that can be extended for pitchers recovering from TJS with commissioner’s office approval). Whether the club applied for a lengthier rehab leash or not is unclear, but Morejón will now reassume a 40-man roster spot while the optional assignment provides him something of an unofficial rehab opportunity. The Padres already have a rotation logjam, so they can afford to take their time bringing along a young pitcher who is no doubt still viewed as a key piece of the organizational future.
It’s a nearly identical situation for Báez, who has been optioned to Double-A San Antonio. The 26-year-old reliever saw some MLB action between 2019-20, but he underwent a Tommy John procedure late last spring. He’s been on the IL since then but has made nine minor league appearances as he builds his arm back up.