The Royals announced that they have designated outfielder Nate Eaton for assignment. The club has been doing some roster maintenance in the past week-plus, putting various players on waivers in order to open space for the eight players they had on the 60-day injured list. Those players have now been reinstated and Eaton’s removal puts the 40-man roster count at exactly 40.
Eaton, 27 next month, was added to the Royals’ roster in August of 2022. Since then, he has served as optionable depth for the club, appearing in 72 big league games over the last two seasons. His defense is generally regarded well and he has stolen 14 bases in that small amount of time, but he hasn’t been able to hold his own at the plate. In 178 appearances, his batting line is .201/.266/.283, striking out at a 28.7% clip. He has had some better offensive seasons in the minors but struggled in Triple-A in 2023. His .252/.312/.441 translates to a wRC+ of 84, indicating he was 16% below league average at that level.
The Royals will now have a week to trade Eaton or pass him through waivers. Despite the tepid offense, his speed and defense give him a solid floor that could perhaps entire other clubs. He’s also still optionable and wouldn’t require an active roster spot once the season begins. He doesn’t have a previous career outright or three years of service time, meaning he wouldn’t have the right to elect free agency in the event he were to be passed through waivers unclaimed.