11:20am: Mandy Bell of MLB.com relays word from manager Terry Francona, who confirms that Quantrill, Miller and Castro are on the Covid-IL. Zack Meisel of The Athletic provides a quote from Francona, who says “I don’t know that we’re out of the woods yet. I hope we are, but I don’t know that that’s going to be the case. We’ll see.”
10:45am: The Guardians announced a series of transactions prior to today’s doubleheader against the White Sox, placing right-hander Cal Quantrill, infielder Owen Miller and righty Anthony Castro on the injured list. No designation was provided, likely indicating that all three are being placed on the Covid-related IL. In their place, Cleveland has selected the contracts of right-hander Enyel De Los Santos and lefties Kirk McCarty and Tanner Tully. Additionally, top shortstop prospect Gabriel Arias is up as the 29th man for today’s twin bill — as first reported last night by Andrea Alejandra Gil of Brujula Deportiva 106.3 FM in Maracay, Venezuela (Twitter link).
It’s not clear whether any of the players placed on the injured list today tested positive or have been deemed close contacts and thus require testing that leaves them unavailable for today’s games. The 2022 health and safety protocols jointly agreed upon by MLB and the MLBPA technically call for a 10-day absence for players who test positive, but players are able to return more quickly than that — provided they receive a pair of negative PCR tests, show no signs of fever and are then subsequently approved by a team medical staffer and a joint committee of one MLB-appointed and one MLBPA-appointed medical expert. Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo, for instance, returned to the team in less than half that 10-day window.
Of the players added to the big league roster today, only De Los Santos has prior MLB experience. A well-regarded prospect during his time with the Padres and the Phillies, De Los Santos debuted with Philadelphia in 2018 but has yet to carry his strong Triple-A production over to the big league level. He’s seen action in parts of three MLB seasons but carries a 6.06 ERA in 65 1/3 innings. De Los Santos has fanned 24% of his opponents against a 10% walk rate, but he’s also yielded an average of 1.9 homers per nine frames — far too many to succeed over any lengthy sample. He’s fared vastly better in Triple-A, where he sports a career 3.37 ERA in 237 2/3 innings and just 1.1 HR/9.
The 27-year-old Tully, meanwhile, was a 26th-rounder back in 2015 who posted a 3.50 ERA in 113 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last year. He’s never posted particularly high strikeout or ground-ball rates, but Tully has walked only 4.5% of the hitters he’s faced in his pro career.
McCarty, 26, was Cleveland’s seventh-rounder back in 2017 and has gotten out to a fast start in Triple-A Columbus, holding opponents to one run on seven hits and five walks with a dozen punchouts through 11 1/3 innings. He was knocked around for a 5.01 ERA in 124 Triple-A frames a year ago.
As for Arias, the 22-year-old infielder is regarded as a potential key piece down the line for the Guardians. Acquired from the Padres (alongside Miller and Quantrill) in the trade that sent Mike Clevinger to San Diego, Arias entered the season ranked among the game’s top 100 prospects at Baseball America (No. 100), MLB.com (No. 73), Baseball Prospectus (No. 57), FanGraphs (No. 95) and ESPN (No. 73).
Arias hit .284/.348/.454 with 13 home runs, 29 doubles, three triples and five steals in 483 trips to the plate last season, and he’s out to a near-identical start in 2022, hitting .278/.350/.472 in 40 plate appearances. He’s starting at second base in Game 1 of today’s doubleheader.
In all likelihood, it’ll be a one-day look for the highly touted Arias, but he’ll give Cleveland fans a brief glimpse of the future. The fact that he’s both on the 40-man roster and being considered for roles like this speak to his general proximity to MLB readiness, and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he were to get a lengthier audition at some point in 2022. Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez are getting a good portion of the middle-infield time early in the season, but Rosario has at least some outfield experience and, of course, injuries are inevitable over the course of a 162-game schedule. Arias is one of many high-end middle infield prospects in the upper levels of the Cleveland system; Brayan Rocchio, Tyler Freeman and Jose Tena, among others, have all received a good bit of fanfare.