The Guardians have designated left-hander Logan Allen and first baseman Bobby Bradley for assignment. In another roster move, righty Anthony Castro was activated from the COVID-related injured list, and then optioned to Triple-A.
In the short term, the Guardians have reduced their roster from 28 to 26 players in advance of tomorrow’s roster reduction deadline. In the bigger picture, however, these moves could mark the organizational end of two players who (not long ago) were considered two possible building blocks. Both Allen and Bradley were former top-100 ranked prospects, but that promise didn’t translate into consistent MLB success. Allen and Bradley are both out of minor league options, so Cleveland had to expose them to the DFA wire in order to try and send either player to Triple-A.
Allen was an eighth-round pick for the Red Sox in 2015, and he has thus far been involved in two major trades in his young career. Allen was one of the four prospects Boston sent to the Padres for Craig Kimbrel in November 2015, and Allen was then one of the seven names involved in the huge three-team swap between San Diego, Cincinnati, and Cleveland prior to the 2019 trade deadline. That deal saw Cleveland end up with Franmil Reyes, Yasiel Puig, prospects Scott Moss and Victor Nova, plus Allen, who had made his Major League debut earlier that year with the Padres.
After the trade, Allen appeared in one game with his new team in 2019, then only three games in the shortened 2020 season. Last year was Allen’s first semi-extended look at the big league level, and he posted a 6.26 ERA, 16.7% strikeout rate, and 7.7% walk rate over 50 1/3 innings. That walk rate was a positive sign considering some of the control problems Allen had faced in the minors, but as had been the case for Allen at Triple-A, his time in the majors was hampered by the long ball. The southpaw allowed 12 home runs over his 50 1/3 frames.
Between the lack of success in both the majors and at Triple-A Columbus, Allen became an expendable piece for a Guardians organization that is brimming with young talent. The same could be said of Bradley, as Owen Miller and Josh Naylor have emerged as the Guards’ preferred options at first base only about a season after Bradley was seen as a first baseman of the future.
A third-round pick in the 2014 draft, Bradley displayed plenty of power in the minor leagues, even if his batting averages and on-base numbers weren’t always as impressive. A big Triple-A season in 2019 earned him a call-up and a 15-game cup of coffee in Cleveland, but Bradley didn’t see any game action at all in 2020 — the minor league season was canceled, and the Guardians never promoted Bradley from their alternate training site.
Cleveland fans were notably impatient to see Bradley get a look in 2021, especially with Jake Bauers struggling as the team’s regular first baseman. Once Bradley finally got his chance, however, he hit a modest .208/.294/.445 with 16 home runs in 279 PA. His power was still apparent, but Bradley struck out 99 times, and particularly struggled against left-handed pitching. This season, Bradley had only two hits in 17 at-bats, striking out nine times.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see either player taken via waiver claim, or for another club to work out a trade with the Guardians. Both players are still young (both have May birthdays, with Allen turning 25 this month and Bradley 26), and they have each shown enough flashes of promise that a new team might think the flaws can be fixed.