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Royals claim pitcher Carlos Sanabria off waivers from the Astros, Mike Montgomery elects free agency

Reliever Kevin McCarthy also becomes a free agent.

Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Royals have claimed 23-year old right-hander Carlos Sanabria off waivers from the Houston Astros, according to reporter Jeffrey Flanagan.

Sanabria hails from Venezuela and made his Major League debut with the Astros this year, appearing in two games, allowing two runs in two innings with three walks and two strikeouts. Last year he pitched in High A Fayetteville where he dominated with a 1.54 ERA in 11 23 innings before being promoted to Double-A Corpus Christie where he had a 3.11 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 55 innings. Sanabria throws a fastball that sits in the mid-90s with a curveball, changeup, and slider. Fangraphs had him ranked as the #22 prospect in the Astros’ system back in January, writing:

We still have some sources who think Sanabria can start, but he’s been wild two of the last three years and his body has backed up a bit. His arm strength has not. Sanabria was up to 99 last year, sitting 94-96 much of the time. He has a four-pitch mix (the slider is 84-87, the curveball is in the low-80s) that he doesn’t control, so we have him in relief.

Flanagan also reports the Royals outrighted pitchers Mike Montgomery and Kevin McCarthy, and both elected free agency. The 31-year old Montgomery was acquired last summer from the Cubs, hoping for a chance to return to the starting rotation, and he made 13 starts for the Royals with a 4.64 ERA. But he landed on the Injured List after just one start this year, and missed most of the season with a lat strain, returning in the last week of the season. He was in his last year of arbitration and was due to earn around $3 million.

Kevin McCarthy has pitched in parts of five season with the Royals and had a 3.80 ERA in 191 23 innings as a groundball reliever. His ERA jumped up to 4.48 ERA in 2019, and he pitched in just five games for the Royals this year, giving up three runs in six innings. He was in his first year of arbitration and MLB Trade Rumors estimated he would make around $800,000.

The Royals also activated pitchers Foster Griffin, Kyle Zimmer, and Glenn Sparkman from the 60-day Injured List. The moves mean the Royals have 39 players on their 40-man roster.