The Royals have claimed 25-year old outfielder Rosell Herrera off waivers from the Reds. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the team has transferred pitcher Nate Karns to the 60-day disabled list.
Herrera is a switch-hitter who was a Baseball America Top 100 prospect before the 2014 season with the Rockies. He was coming off a .343/.419/.515 campaign in low-ball the previous season, but has never hit for that kind of power since then. Last year he hit .278/.351/.394 with 3 home runs and 20 steals in 103 games with Alburquerque, but was non-tendered last fall and signed to a minor league deal with the Reds. He made his Major League debut with Cincinnati this year, but batted just 13 times at the big league level.
Herrera had a 9.2% walk rate in the minors and had some very good stolen base totals. He has played the infield sparingly although not regularly since 2014, but he could offer some positional versatility. He is still just 25, so if he can even tap into a bit of the power he flashed in 2013, he might be useful. If you have a bad team in a rebuild, it makes sense to pick up 25-year old outfielders that were once Top 100 prospects.
Karns has already missed 60 days of the season, so this move just frees up a roster spot, and is not necessarily a sign he is due to miss a lot more time, although it doesn’t sound like the team expects him back any time soon. Karns did suffer a setback in his rehab early in May, and is suffering from right elbow inflammation according to Maria Torres.