The Guardians announced a batch of roster moves prior to today’s doubleheader. Left-hander Kirk McCarty has been recalled as the club’s “27th man” for the twin bill. The club also recalled infielder Gabriel Arias, with outfielder Oscar Gonzalez going on the 10-day injured list as a corresponding move. Furthermore, right-hander James Karinchak was reinstated from the 60-day IL and optioned to Triple-A, with fellow righty Tobias Myers being designated for assignment to open a spot for Karinchak on the 40-man roster.
The Guardians haven’t yet announced an injury designation for Gonzalez, but he was reportedly dealing with some abdominal tightness recently. This IL placement will put a pause on his nice breakout campaign, as the rookie has hit .285/.315/.431 through his first 32 big league games. Despite a 3.8% walk rate that’s less than half the league average, he’s hit enough to produce a 112 wRC+, indicating he’s been 12% better than the league average hitter overall. With him out of action, Richie Palacios could potentially be line for more regular playing time next to Steven Kwan and Myles Straw in the Cleveland outfield. Manager Terry Francona tells Mandy Bell of MLB.com that an MRI on Gonzalez revealed some swelling near his ribs that will shut him down for about a week.
Myers, 23, was first added to the club’s 40-man roster in November as part of a huge shuffle. At the deadline to add players prior to the Rule 5 draft, which ended up not happening, the Guardians designated seven players for assignment in order to add ten prospects to the squad. In addition to all of that, they acquired Myers from the Rays and added him to the roster as well. Originally drafted by the Orioles, he was traded to the Rays for Tim Beckham in 2017. Since then, he climbed the ladder in Tampa’s system, pitching in Double-A and Triple-A in 2021. He made 22 starts last year with a 3.90 ERA, 30.5% strikeout rate and 5.8% walk rate. That surely enticed Cleveland to bring him aboard as rotation depth, though he hasn’t been able to maintain those results this year. In 14 Triple-A starts, he has an ERA of 6.00, along with a 14.1% strikeout rate and 11.6% walk rate. Based on those diminished results, he has lost his roster spot and has now entered DFA limbo. The club will have one week to trade him or place him on waivers. Despite his poor season thus far, teams may be willing to take a chance on him on the hope he can rebound into his previous form.
As for Karinchak, 26, he seemed to emerge as an elite bullpen weapon in the shortened 2020 season. He threw 27 innings that year with a 2.67 ERA and an absurd 48.6% strikeout rate, though a concerning 14.7% walk rate as well. In 2021, he came back down to earth with a 4.07 ERA over 55 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate fell to 33.2%, still very good, but was also still issuing free passes at a 13.6% rate. He has yet to pitch in the majors this year as he began the season on the IL due to a teres major strain. He’s been rehabbing for the past month, throwing 11 Triple-A innings with a 5.73 ERA. He’s still getting Ks 32.1% of the time but also giving a free trip to first base to 20.8% of batters faced. There’s surely some rust to deal with after a long injury layoff, which he will try to shake off by staying in Columbus.