The Guardians announced that they have signed a couple of Calebs to minor league deals. Left-hander Caleb Baragar and right-hander Caleb Simpson will join the organization and receive invitations to major league Spring Training.
Baragar, 29 in April, has seen some major league time with the Giants, making 49 appearances for them over the 2020 and 2021 seasons. In that time, he posted a 2.78 ERA despite middling rate states. His 18.8% strikeout rate, 9.1% walk rate and 21.7% ground ball rate are all worse than league average.
Things didn’t go as smoothly in the minors, as he posted an 8.46 ERA in 22 1/3 Triple-A innings in 2021, surely pushed northwards by a huge 17.6% walk rate. The Giants designated him for assignment in March of 2022 and he landed with the Diamondbacks on a waiver claim, who subsequently outrighted him in April. He posted a 5.51 ERA for the Triple-A Reno Aces in 2022, who play in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Baragar struck out a healthy 23.8% of batters faced but still gave free passes at a high rate of 13.8%.
Simpson, 31, has yet to crack the major leagues, though he was included in Boston’s 60-man player pool during the 2020 season. He’s generally posted solid numbers up the minor league ladder but has struggled at Triple-A so far. In 2022, he posted a 2.92 ERA at Double-A but then a 9.11 ERA at the level above. His rate stats all took a hit as well, as he struck out 27.5% of Double-A hitters but just 21.3% in Triple-A. His walk rate went from 9.8% to 13.2% and his ground ball rate from 51.7% to 42.5%.
For the Guardians, there’s little harm in bringing in the two Calebs for some extra non-roster depth. Both players still have options and limited service time, meaning they could be cheap and versatile arms for the club if they show enough to crack the roster.