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Guardians designate Bryan Shaw for assignment

How did it take this long?

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Minnesota Twins Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

I have to admit, I did not see this coming.

With five games left in the regular season, the Cleveland Guardians have designated relief pitcher Bryan Shaw for assignment as part of a series of moves ahead of Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. Shaw was DFA’ed to make room for starting pitcher Zach Plesac, who was activated from the 15-day injured list. The Guardians also optioned Tyler Freeman to Triple-A Columbus to clear a roster spot for Bo Naylor, the organization’s top catching prospect.

Shaw was the organization’s signature free agent signing of the offseason. He ranks dead last on the team in ERA (5.40) and is tied with Kirk McCarty for the lowest fWAR (-0.4) of any reliever on the roster. Yet he has the fifth-most innings pitched of any Cleveland reliever this season.

Plesac is making his first start since August 27, when he suffered a fracture in his right hand after punching the mound in frustration following a home run by Jake Lamb. With a 4.39 ERA, he is likely auditioning for a bullpen role if he hopes to make the Guardians’ postseason roster.

Bo Naylor was promoted to Columbus earlier this season and slashed .257/.366/.514 in 290 plate appearances with the Clippers. He is expected to factor into the Guardians’ plans at the catcher position next season with both Austin Hedges and Luke Maile set to become free agents.

Freeman slashed .247/.314/.286 in 86 plate appearances in Cleveland.