The Cubs have officially released infielder/outfielder Alfonso Rivas. This does not come as a surprise with the anticipation of the Eric Hosmer signing and the limited space on the roster. Rivas, 26, was designated for assignment back on Dec. 23 and was not dealt or waived. He is now a free agent.
Cubs: The Alfonso Rivas experiment goes quietly into the night
The Cubs acquired Rivas as a prospect in January 2020 from the Oakland A's in exchange for veteran utilityman Tony Kemp. Rivas had shown promise in the minors as a solid line drive hitter and defender. He made his debut in 2021 and slashed .318/.388/.409 in 18 games. There was reason to see potential in him, and with Anthony Rizzo gone, he got the opportunity to play more in 2022. Cubs had very little to lose seeing what he could bring given the lack of long-term clarity at first base.
Despite starting 2022 strong, Rivas began to have trouble hitting the breaking stuff and the numbers dipped. He spent some time in Triple-A Iowa in early August before coming back after a few weeks. He totaled 101 MLB games last year and slashed just .235/.322/.307 with three homers and five doubles. Credit him for playing good defense at first base, posting 6 DRS and 1.3 UZR/150.
As I noted, Rivas is still just 26 and can hopefully catch on somewhere. It just did not make sense to keep him on the roster with Hosmer and (hopefully) Matt Mervis manning first. The outfield is also crowded enough and Rivas would not get any consistent playing time.
At most he would have been organizational depth, but his struggles at the plate at the MLB level and lack of power were enough to justify moving on. He can hopefully go somewhere he can get a chance to prove himself. If he can handle breaking pitches better he could potentially become a solid utility line drive hitter somewhere.
Good luck to Rivas in his future.