Once hailed as a notable prospect in the Mets' organization, Cesar Puello has played in three organizations over the past two seasons, spending most of his time at the Triple-A level with the affiliates of the Yankees, Angels, and Rays. At this point, he appears to be a Quadruple-A player, but he's only been given 17 games in the majors in his career to this point. With a career .289/.379/.447 line over 1,039 plate appearances at Triple-A, Puello has nothing left to prove at that level. In order to stick on a 25-man roster at some point, he'll likely need to land with a non-contending team, and be willing to bide his time a little longer in the minors before an opportunity to play more frequently opens up due to injuries. If that happens, however, Puello has shown a combination of power and speed that could make him a useful speculative pickup in deeper formats. He'll begin 2018 in the D-backs' organization, where he'll likely head to Triple-A Reno to start the season.
The D-backs signed Puello to a minor-league deal Wednesday, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. He'll likely begin 2018 at Triple-A Reno, but Puello could make a push for a bench role in Arizona with a strong spring. In 1,039 career plate appearances at Triple-A, he's hit .289/.379/.447 while showing a useful combination of power and speed. At the very least, Puello is an interesting name to file away for the reserve rounds of deep NL-only leagues.
Puello cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Puello struggled to a .206/.308/.206 line in 17 games between the Rays and Angels last season, prompting Tampa Bay to drop him from their 40-man roster following the season. He performed much better at Triple-A -- slashing a combined .327/.377/.526 with 13 homers and 18 steals in 87 games between Salt Lake and Round Rock -- so he should catch on somewhere else as outfield depth.
Puello went 3-for-3 in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Red Sox. The production represented Puello's first major-league multi-hit effort as well as his first time hitting safely since an Aug. 28 pinch-hitting appearance. The rookie figures to continue seeing occasional playing time for the balance of the regular season as the Rays try to get a better feel for what he can offer after claiming him off waivers Aug. 19.
Puello was recalled from Triple-A Durham on Sunday, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Puello was promoted to the big club just a day after being claimed off waivers. He'll take the roster spot of Jacob Faria (abdominal), who was placed on the disabled list in a corresponding move. Puello managed an impressive .397/.440/.620 line with seven homers and 13 steals in 44 games for Triple-A Salt Lake before being cut loose. However, the Rays outfield is pretty set, so he'll see most of his playing time off the bench.
Puello was claimed off waivers by the Rays on Saturday, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports. A robust .397/.440/.620 line with seven homers and 13 steals in 44 games with Triple-A Salt Lake wasn't enough for Puello to maintain his spot on the Angels' 40-man roster, as the team designated him for assignment last week. The Rays will welcome him aboard, although it's uncertain if they plan to use Puello in the majors before September. He figures to at least see occasional chances off the bench over the season's final month.