As expected, the Mariners have released Jack Cust after designating him for assignment last week.
Cust is owed another $1 million for so as part of a one-year, $2.5 million contract, so predictably none of the other 29 teams wanted to take on that salary after he hit just .213 with three homers and a .673 OPS in 67 games for the Mariners.
Cust was once an underrated hitter, providing good value despite low batting averages and high strikeout totals because he drew tons of walks, got on base at a strong clip, and hit 25-30 homers. However, his power has vanished in the past two years.
He might still be a useful left-handed bench bat for teams that miss out on picking up, say, Jason Giambi before the August 31 waiver trade deadline, but Cust’s lack of defensive skills make him a pretty marginal player if he’s not hitting for power to go along with all the walks.
The Braves released veteran infielder/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, per a team announcement. Right-hander Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.
Bautista, 37, was recruited by the Braves in mid-April as a potential third base option. He inked a minor league deal with the club and lasted just 12 games in the majors, during which he batted a meager .143/.250/.343 with three extra-base hits and a .593 OPS across 40 plate appearances. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the big leagues — he collected 40 home runs, a .250 average and 5.3 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2015 — his power has been noticeably declining over the last three years, and it’s clear the Braves don’t have enough time or opportunity to wait for him to get his groove back.
Without Bautista, Johan Camargo is expected to handle the hot corner on a daily basis. The 24-year-old infielder is working through his sophomore season at the major league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .226/.368/.403 with six extra bases and a .772 OPS in 76 PA. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that top infield prospect Austin Riley could also get a shot at playing third base sometime in 2018, though the club has no current plans to promote him from Triple-A at the moment.