With just two days until Opening Day, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Will Cleveland name a new fifth starter today?
With Guardians right-hander Triston McKenzie at risk of missing as much as two months to open the season, the club will need announce a replacement in the rotation, a move that could be made as soon as today. Left-hander Konnor Pilkington, who posted a 3.88 ERA in 58 innings of work in the majors last season, could be the most logical option. Righties Hunter Gaddis and Xzavion Curry both made a pair of starts for the club in 2022 and are on the 40-man roster as well. Others on the 40-man roster include Jason Bilous and Joey Cantillo, though both have limited experience above Double-A. Chris Archer and Anibal Sanchez are among the depth starters who might be available to the Guardians on a minor league deal, but it seems unlikely that Cleveland would add a free agent at this point, as that pitcher wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day anyhow. It’s always possible that another option could present itself via waivers or a veteran opt-out, but the Guardians are known for their ability to turn out quality pitching and already have several in-house options.
2. Will Hiura and Ruf find new teams?
Yesterday, both Keston Hiura and Darin Ruf were designated for assignment by their respective teams. The two are both right-handed hitting first baseman with experience at other spots (Ruf in the outfield corners, Hiura at second base and in left field) who were late cuts from their club’s Opening Day bench mix. Hiura, 26, has youth on his side and posted a 115 wRC+ in 266 plate appearances last year, albeit with a concerning 41.7% strikeout rate. Ruf, meanwhile, had a solid track record of success with the Giants before a disastrous 29-game stint with the Mets following last year’s trade deadline. Despite their warts, both could be bench options for a team short on right-handed pop.
3. MLBTR Chats
A pair of live chats with MLBTR readers are planned for today. At 10am CT, MLBTR’s Anthony Franco is set to host a Cardinals-centric chat with readers in conjunction with St. Louis’s installment of our Offseason in Review series. You can ask a question in advance using this link, and the same link will allow you to participate live or review the transcript once the chat is complete. Meanwhile, at 1pm CT, MLBTR’s Steve Adams will be hosting a live chat with an MLB-wide focus. Click here to ask a question in advance.
Pilkington will get the job. Guards do not sign washed up players to fill the roster. Bilous is a project. Gaddis had the worst possible debut imaginable. Doubt he sees a major league mound in Cleveland unless the team is out of the race.
Gaddis made the roster in the bullpen already, so his chances of appearing in the show this year are quite a bt better than you think.
That being said, I’d rather see Pilkington get a shot in the rotation again if he’s ready.
I agree that Pilkington is most likely to fill that role. CLE already announced that Gaddis made the opening day roster which I found shocking. According to Carl Willis he has since turned things around which I’ll believe when I see it. Gaddis’ debut last August was a total abomination.
I wouldn’t get too caught up on 7 innings pitched over two outings. He’s had double digit K rates and @ walk rate around 3 through 120+ innings at AA/AAA last year. He’s an interesting pitcher. I’m curious to see if his stuff ramps up a bit coming out of the bullpen.
The Cleveland FO is very good about having a Plan B, C, D, and E 365 days of the year…..especially with pitching.
What so many don’t get here is that players evolve – for the good and bad – not only from season to season, but even during the season. Looking at a players previous years stats mean nothing – especially with young ballplayers.
I agree that it’s most likely Pilkington. Gaddis is on the Opening Day roster but I imagine their plan is still for him to be in a bullpen role.
The writers here keep listing Bilous as an option to start too, when the Guardians have already come out and said they’re putting him in the bullpen. So he’s not an option either.
Ruf to the Phils? He still hits LHP and could platoon with Hall.
No, I think he needs to return to KBO and find himself again.
I don’t see anyone claiming Hiura. DH only with over a 40% strikeout rate in the bigs isn’t going to get his swing fixed at this level. Ruf maybe. His Mets stint was bad and he showed nothing this spring but he does have good numbers against lefties compared to Hiura who has reverse splits.