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Royals DFA Bonifacio, Dini among roster moves

Club adds four prospects to 40-man roster ahead of Rule 5 Draft
@FlannyMLB
November 20, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals on Wednesday made a flurry of moves ahead of the 7 p.m. CT deadline to protect several players who would be exposed to next month’s Rule 5 Draft. The Royals selected the contracts of left-hander Foster Griffin, right-hander Carlos Hernandez, outfielder Nick Heath and shortstop

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals on Wednesday made a flurry of moves ahead of the 7 p.m. CT deadline to protect several players who would be exposed to next month’s Rule 5 Draft.

The Royals selected the contracts of left-hander Foster Griffin, right-hander Carlos Hernandez, outfielder Nick Heath and shortstop Jeison Guzman, thus adding them to the 40-man roster.

To make room, the Royals designated for assignment four players: Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, catcher Nick Dini, and right-handers Conner Greene and Arnaldo Hernandez.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

The additions of Heath and Hernandez were widely expected: Heath is a speedster who would be suitable on MLB rosters that will expand to 26 players next season, and Hernandez has a fastball that can reach 100 mph and could be stashed in the back end of a bullpen.

Royals' Top 30 prospects

Heath, 25, stole 60 bases between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, and he is a strong candidate to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster in 2020. Hernandez, 22, finished last season at Class A Lexington and struck out 43 hitters in 36 innings there while posting a 3.50 ERA.

Griffin, 24, was a first-round pick in 2014 but is somewhat of a surprise to be protected: He was not protected last season and was not selected in the Rule 5 Draft last December. Rival scouts have described him as more of a “pitch-ability” type of pitcher with a fastball in the low 90s.

Guzman, 21, is a strong defender who had a .669 OPS at Class A Lexington last season but who stole 15 bases and has shown athleticism as he has risen through the system.

Dini, 26, made his MLB debut this season and hit two home runs with a .196 average in 20 games.

Bonifacio, 26, had a breakthrough season in 2017 when he hit 17 home runs with a .255 average in 113 games. He was suspended for 80 games in 2018 after testing positive for a performance enhancing substance banned by MLB.

Bonifacio hit just .225 in 69 games for the Royals in 2018, and he played in just five games for the Royals in 2019.

Greene, 24, was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals last fall. He had a 5.13 ERA splitting time between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in 2019.

The Royals did not protect outfielder Seuly Matias, who hit 31 home runs at Class A Lexington in 2018. The 21-year-old played in just 57 games last season at Class A Wilmington before undergoing hand surgery.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.