It has been a strange couple of months for catcher Chris Rabago. But as of Friday night, he was back with the organization where he began his career — the Rockies.
The Rockies purchased Rabago on Friday from the Royals, the day after the Royals selected Rabago from the Yankees roster in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft on Thursday morning. As opposed to the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft, a team is not required to keep a player on the big-league roster or have to offer him back to the team that lost him in the draft.
Rabago was the Rockies’ 13th-round pick in 2014 draft. The former University of California-Irvine shortstop has appeared in 324 of his 331 professional games for Rockies minor-league teams. He played in seven games for the Yankees Double-A affiliate at Trenton. The Yankees claimed him off waivers from the Rockies in August, when the Rockies had to create a spot on their major-league roster for Matt Holliday.
With the Rule 5 draft completed, the Rockies do not have to put Rabago on their big-league roster. Rabago is considered a quality defensive catcher. He hit .213 and was successful on nine of 10 stolen base attempts with the Rockies Double-A Hartford affiliate in 66 games last year before going 2-for-28 in seven games with the Yankees organization.
Rabago has been a backup catcher in the minor leagues, the last three seasons, appearing on 77 games at Low-A Asheville in 2016, 89 games with High-A Lancaster in 2017, hitting .272 both seasons, and then 83 games between Hartford and Trenton in 2018.
Drafted as a shortstop, he appeared 46 games at the position with Short-Season Class A Tri-City in his professional career, and made the move to catcher at Rookie Grand Junction in 2015 when he threw out 20 of 62 runners attempting to steal.
Rabago’s brother, Hector, is a coach in the Yankee organization.
The move came the day after the Mariners selected right-handed pitcher Brandon Brennan from the Rockies in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft. The Rockies recently signed Brennan as a minor-league free agent. The Rockies receive $50,000 for losing Brennan in the draft.
If the Mariners want to send Brennan to the minor leagues, he must be offered back to the Rockies, who could reclaim him for $25,000. If the Rockies decline, the Mariners are free to take Brennan off the big-league roster.