If one could look up “Quad-A player” in the dictionary, a black-and-white picture of Kristopher Negrón would likely accompany the definition. Since being drafted in the seventh round by the Red Sox in 2006, the soon to be 33-year-old has played for five organizations, seen just 334 plate appearances in the Majors scattered across five seasons—all but 64 of those with Cincinnati—and has managed just a 75 wRC+ in the bigs. He’s played all over the field throughout his career, having started multiple games at every position except pitcher and catcher. The entirety of his career positive value came in 2014, when he put up a 126 wRC+ and 1.6 fWAR in 158 plate appearances with the Reds, largely on the back of a slightly inflated BABIP and an unsustainably high HR/FB.
Purchased from Arizona on August 30th, Negrón skipped the Rainiers entirely, as his contract was selected the moment the calendar flipped to September. He saw action in eighteen games to close out the year, but he started just eight of those—seeing just 30 plate appearances—with the bulk of his use coming as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner.
Negrón didn’t exactly wow anyone at the dish, putting up a skimpy .207/.233/.310 slash line in Seattle along with a K-rate of 30% and just one walk, but he did manage something that Andrew Romine didn’t all season:
Negrón is also a strong baserunner. He’s a perfect 9-for-9 in base stealing in the bigs, swiping two in his brief time with the M’s, and owns a career minor league SB% of 82.5%. He filled in at second, third, shortstop, and both corner outfield spots in Seattle, and looked capable at each position. He also made a couple of flashy plays:
He’s also pretty active on Twitter, and is a man of class:
Can’t thank everyone enough for all the support this year. To those in Reno, AZ and here in Seattle, thank you for all the good times & treating me like family. Cheers to 2018 and look forward to what’s in store for 2019!! Last night in Seattle, then back home in the morning!— Kristopher Negrón (@KNegs17) October 1, 2018
Negrón is out of minor league options, though given his advanced age he stands more of a chance of sneaking through waivers; the Diamondbacks were able to do so after designating him for assignment back in June. With the presence of J.P. Crawford, Dylan Moore, and a possible future free agent signing, it’s hard to envision seeing him get much, if any, time with the big club. Heck, given that there’s just one open spot on the 40-man at the time of this writing, and Jerry Dipoto saying Monday that the club is looking to bring in both a veteran infielder and a reliever or two before pitchers and catchers report, it’s possible that Negrón could find himself out of a roster spot come February. If he sticks around, however, he should be a solid depth option in Tacoma, and his strong baserunning and veteran status could be a valuable presence on the bench.