Birds Shore Up Infield With Two Acquisitions
The Sioux Falls Canaries' infield just got a lot deeper. The Birds have signed former Chicago White Sox catcher Adrian Nieto as a free agent, the team announced Friday. Sioux Falls has also acquired infielder Alay Lago in a trade with Kansas City.
A VETERAN BEHIND THE DISH
Nieto, a 29-year-old switch hitter with pop in his bat, hit .313/.384/.426 for Kansas City last season. But Canaries manager Mike Meyer said his best qualities don't show up in the stat sheet.
"Adrian's played in the big leagues; he's caught at every level. He's really smart back there," Meyer said. "Everybody I've talked to said that pitchers love throwing to him."
This is especially important for the Canaries, who have assembled one of the deepest pitching staffs in the league this offseason.
"One of the things we really needed to have was veteran leadership behind the plate," Meyer said. "Adrian definitely fits that bill."
A former fifth-round draft pick out of American Heritage High School in Florida, Nieto made his MLB debut with the White Sox in 2014, playing 48 games that season. He hit .236/.396/.340 in a Sox uniform, including two home runs.
LAGO HEADED TO THE BIRDS
Lago comes to Sioux Falls in exchange for the reversionary rights to Ryan Fritze, a reliever who left the Canaries this offseason when his contract was purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
A native of Cuba, Lago joined the T-Bones in July of last season. He hit .283/.323/.393 with 10 doubles and two home runs in 37 games with Kansas City, helping the T-Bones to an American Association championship.
"Alay is extremely gifted athletically," Meyer said. "He hasn't had a lot of full playing time, but we believe that if we get him in the lineup every day, we're going to see some special things."
Lago played four seasons of baseball in Cuba before taking the field in the Triple-A Mexican League in 2017. The 27-year-old spent parts of two seasons in the Atlanta Braves organization, making it as high as Double-A Mississippi in 2018.
The Sioux Falls Canaries open their 2019 season on May 16 on the road. Their home opener is scheduled for May 31, a Fireworks Night game against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at 7:05pm. For more information on season tickets, suites, group outings, and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries Front Office at (605) 336-6060, or visit the Canaries official website at www.sfcanaries.com.