Infielder Jorge Cantu opted for free agency Monday, leaving the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate Salt Lake Bees as part of a contractual opportunity of his deal with the major-league club.
Cantu was batting .291 (25 for 86) with four home runs and 22 runs batted in in 21 games playing first base for Salt Lake. He hit .277 with two homers and 10 RBI in spring training.
The 30-year-old, eight-year major-league veteran formerly with the Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Marlins and San Diego Padres failed to crack the Angels’ roster out of spring training. The team has a glut of potential corner infielders (Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales, Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo) and the outfield was packed, too, leading to last week’s release of Bobby Abreu.
Cantu, a career .271 major-league hitter with 104 homers and 476 RBIs, was a non-roster invitee to the Angels’ spring camp who had until Tuesday to either opt for free agency or remain in the Angels’ system.
He said after homering in his spring-training finale in Dodger Stadium earlier this month that he felt he had nothing to lose by accepting the Triple-A assignment because a spot would either open in Anaheim, or he could continue playing and then potentially land with a team not so overloaded with similar players.