Making official what was presumed after they designated him for assignment last week, the Red Sox non-tendered third baseman/first baseman Juan Francisco.
Boston claimed Francisco off waivers from Toronto on November 19 to give them a fallback option at third base, but signing Pablo Sandoval (and Hanley Ramirez) made him superfluous.
Francisco isn’t much of a defender and can’t hit left-handed pitching, but against right-handers his career .786 OPS is higher than the career OPS versus righties by, among others, Michael Brantley, Billy Butler, Yoenis Cespedes, Eric Hosmer, and Michael Cuddyer.
He’ll land somewhere in a part-time role.
The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.
Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.
Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.