The Guardians announced a few transactions as they set their Opening Day roster. Catchers Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria both make the club, as Cleveland will go with two depth options behind starter Mike Zunino.
Neither Gallagher nor Viloria had been on the 40-man roster after signing minor league deals over the winter. To create space, Cleveland designated right-hander Jason Bilous for assignment and placed righty Cody Morris on the 60-day injured list.
Gallagher has played in parts of six major league campaigns, all of which have come as a member of the Royals. Working as Salvador Pérez’s backup for the bulk of that time, he put together a cumulative .240/.302/.355 line over 469 plate appearances. Kansas City traded Gallagher to San Diego at last summer’s deadline, and he also spent time with the Orioles. He didn’t get an MLB chance with either club but now returns to the majors in Cleveland.
Viloria is a lefty-swinging catcher who also previously played in Kansas City. He’s gotten into 93 major league games as a member of the Royals and Rangers over the past five years, hitting .201/.270/.283. The 26-year-old had an excellent .280/.422/.440 line in 218 plate appearances for Texas’ Triple-A affiliate last year.
Neither Gallagher nor Viloria can be optioned to the minor leagues. Barring injury, the Guardians will have to continue carrying all three catchers in the majors or eventually make one of them available to other teams via trade or waivers. It’s unclear how long Cleveland will be able to maintain that level of roster flexibility but they’re comfortable doing so out of the gate.
Bilous was claimed off waivers from the White Sox last month. The Coastal Carolina product has yet to make his major league debut. He split the 2022 season between Chicago’s top two affiliates, combining for a 6.30 ERA across 105 2/3 innings. He’d posted better numbers in the low minors but has yet to find much success against upper level hitters. Cleveland will have a week to trade the 25-year-old or look to run him through waivers.
Morris impressed over seven appearances late last season as a rookie. He could’ve battled for a back-of-the-rotation spot if healthy but he’s been sidelined by soreness in the terms major muscle in his throwing shoulder. He won’t make his season debut until at least the end of May.
I’m really not understanding this 3 catcher thing for them. They need another IF/OF
they’re concerned about Zunino’s health. it’s temporary, but let’s Brennan and Arias get regular at bats rather than being saved for possibly PH for a C. if Zunino sucks, they’ll drop one when they call up Naylor. if Zunino proves healthy, they’ll drop one. It’s a long season. This won’t be the same roster come playoff time.
I take it as a sign that Zunino May be washed up.
Wtf 4 catchers on the roster?!? Am I missing something??
Never mind I thought this was the royals since both these guys were royals
In nurse follars
The 13th player sits on the bench. I think this has a lot to do with uncertainty about zunino’s health. Hard to imagine they carry 3 catches if naylor becomes # 1.
This. I imagine in the early goings Zunino will be a ~7 inning starter and then Brennan/Arias will pinch hit based on matchups. Then one of Gallagher/Viloria goes in and the other is saved in case of injury and primed to start the next game. This just may be a great way to keep both Brennan and Arias involved and sharp.
Tito doesn’t like to pinch hit for his catcher. He can do that now with 3. They also need to get ABs to Brennan and Arias, and this will allow that. It’s not a long term solution, but it’s fine right now.
Zunino had a decent spring at the plate. I think they’re just being cautious