The Guardians appear to have mostly finalized their Opening Day roster, though president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti noted to reporters (including Mandy Bell of MLB.com) that “there is some chance that we make an external acquisition, and if we do, that will affect the composition of our roster.”
Barring such an acquisition, however, it seems likely that Cleveland will open the season with three catchers on their roster, as both Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria appear set to make the team and back up starting catcher Mike Zunino. With multiple back-up options, the Guardians are hoping that Zunino will have a lighter workload in 2023 after missing the second half of the 2022 season due to surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. That comes at the expense of depth in the infield and outfield, however, as Gabriel Arias figures to be the sole infielder on the bench, with Will Brennan the sole outfielder. On the other hand, that should help both youngsters get additional playing time to aid their development. That’s particularly valuable for Arias, who played just 82 games last year between Triple-A and the majors after missing two months on the injured list last season.
More from around the AL Central…
- Sticking with the Guardians, manager Terry Francona told reporters, including Bell, that right-hander Triston McKenzie was dealing with right arm tightness that led to him being pulled from his start today after just one inning. McKenzie figures to be a key cog at the front of Cleveland’s rotation this year after he posted a 2.96 ERA in 191 1/3 innings of work last season, so long as his current ailment doesn’t prove to be more serious than initially believed. In the event that McKenzie misses time, the club could look to a depth option like Konnor Pilkington or Jason Bilous to fill McKenzie’s spot in the rotation.
- The Opening Day pitching staff in Minnesota came into further focus today, as the Twins optioned Bailey Ober to Triple-A, per The Athletic’s Dan Hayes, following their decision to reassign Jeff Hoffman, per Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Ober figured to be pushed out of the rotation picture in Minnesota following the club’s acquisition of Pablo Lopez from the Marlins earlier this offseason, and will act as depth in Triple-A following an 11-start showing in 2022 where he posted a solid 3.21 ERA (120 ERA+) in 56 innings of work. Hoffman, meanwhile, signed a minor league deal with the Twins last month in order to compete for a long relief role i the Twins bullpen. Instead, right-hander Cole Sands seems poised to fill that role, leaving Hoffman to decide whether or not to make use of his opt-out clause this coming Tuesday.
- Shortly after alerting him that he would not make their Opening Day roster, the White Sox announced that they had released right-hander Bryan Shaw from his minor league deal with the club. The veteran Shaw sports a 3.92 ERA in 714 2/3 innings of work during his career and is now poised to look for another club interested in his services for his age-35 season. Shaw made a strong case for himself this spring, pitching to a 1.08 ERA in 8 1/3 innings during camp.