The Guardians announced that they have selected the contract of catcher/infielder David Fry, while catcher Meibrys Viloria was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
Cleveland somewhat surprisingly opened the season with three catchers, with Mike Zunino backed up by Cam Gallagher and Viloria. The 26-year-old Viloria has been the least used of the trio, with no starts and just 21 2/3 total innings spend behind the plate so far this year, compared to 158 for Zunino and 74 for Gallagher. He’s also only received four plate appearances on the season, going 0-3 with a walk.
That wasn’t a terribly effective use of a roster spot and Viloria will now be cut loose. None of those three backstops had the ability to be optioned to the minors, so he had to be designated for assignment. Prior to this season, he had been with the Royals and Rangers and is now at 103 career major league games, hitting .198/.270/.279 in that time. That’s obviously not a great batting line, but Viloria does rank well in Statcast’s new caught stealing above average metric (helpful explainer via Mike Petriello of MLB.com). The Guards will now have a week to trade Viloria or pass him through waivers, though in the event he clears waivers, he would have the right to reject an outright assignment by virtue of having a previous career outright.
In his place, the Guardians are sticking with the three-catcher system in a sense, though Fry is not merely a backstop. The 27-year-old was initially drafted by the Brewers but came to the Guardians in March of 2022 as the player to be named later in the J.C. Mejia trade. Throughout his minor league career, he’s played all around in the infield and outfield, in addition to his time spent behind the plate. This year, he’s actually primarily played third base along with a bit of time at second and first, not having taken up the catcher spot since last year. The club still announced him as a catcher/infielder, which suggests his time as a backstop isn’t totally over, but his defensive versatility should give him more opportunities than Viloria to get into games and help the club.
This is his first time joining a big league club and he’ll be making his major league debut as soon as he gets into a game. With Triple-A Columbus last year, he hit 17 home runs in 119 games and slashed .256/.329/.450 for a wRC+ of 105. Through 25 games this year, he’s hitting .289/.381/.478 and has a 121 wRC+. He figures to slot into the club’s bench as a backup infielder alongside Gabriel Arias, with José Ramírez, Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez hold three starting spots with Josh Bell and Josh Naylor sharing first base and designated hitter.
Terry Francona has around 3 billion reasons to move the Guardians if a new stadium isn’t built for him by 2029.
He really can’t be paid enough. He is one of the great reasons that Cleveland baseball has been interesting for the last ten years. He should be a hall of famer.
I predict he’ll be in the Hall. Maybe not in the near-near future. But he will make it, deservedly.
Can’t tell if you are trying too hard or not hard enough…maybe buy a book of puns and see if you can works them into your schtick? everyone loves puns and word play…what you’re doing is getting old quick…been cutting you some slack and trying to help be a troll that sticks around….no one will see your stuff if your muted and you’re getting close to getting muted
Makes too much sense. I was wondering when this was coming. We really need right handed bats who can come off the bench and the only other alternative is Freeman who they see as a starter.
Fry looks good on paper, but we’ll see how it actually plays out. This is the kind of player every team dreams of having on the roster, but will Francona be gunshy using him as a PH? We’ll soon see.
Can Fry handle the pressure cooker of a pinch hitting situation?
And Fry always did great impressions of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. People over 60 may get this.
Yes Milton, he was brilliant. He prefigured Rich Little.
I expect Viloria to get picked up