The Cleveland Guardians have made another round of roster cuts ahead of Opening Day, trimming their projected final major-league roster down to ... 25 players?
Hold on now.
The Guardians won't be carrying Roman Quinn or Richie Palacios on the Opening Day roster.— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) March 25, 2023
Quinn and C Zack Collins have been reassigned to Minor League camp.
Richie Palacios was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
Interested to see how the Guardians fill their last bench spot.
Yes, you read that right, they will not be carrying Richie Palacios or Roman Quinn on the roster when they open the season in Seattle on Thursday. Palacios will simply be optioned to Triple-A, but Quinn can opt out of his deal if he doesn’t make the 40-man roster out of spring training.
The thinking for weeks now has been that the final position player spot was down to one of them to cover as a fifth outfielder. Instead, it was announced less than an hour after those initial roster cuts that the Guardians will be going with three catchers on the roster — Mike Zunino, Cam Gallagher, and Meibrys Viloria — instead of another true utility-type bench player.
The Guardians have finalized their Opening Day roster... sort of. Cam Gallagher will be the backup catcher. And so will Meibrys Viloria– unless they make a last-minute waiver claim/trade.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 25, 2023
Carrying three catchers allows them to pinch-hit more often and get Brennan/Arias more ABs. pic.twitter.com/89syLzuIju
As Zack Meisel mentioned above, going with three backstops will allow them to be pinch-hit for in key situations multiple times in a game, instead of just one. That was also supposedly the plan in the playoffs last year when Austin Hedges, Luke Maile, and Bo Naylor were all rostered, but Naylor never saw the field.
So, with that in mind, here’s what we’re looking at for the Opening Day roster:
- C: Mike Zunino, Cam Gallagher, Meibrys Viloria
- 1B/DH: Josh Naylor, Josh Bell
- 2B: Andrés Giménez
- SS: Amed Rosario
- 3B: José Ramírez
- LF: Steven Kwan
- CF: Myles Straw
- RF: Oscar Gonzalez
- Bench/Utility: Gabriel Arias, Will Brennan
- SP: Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, Cal Quantrill, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac
- RP: Emmanuel Clase, Enyel De Los Santos, Hunter Gaddis, Tim Herrin, James Karinchak, Eli Morgan, Nick Sandlin, Trevor Stephan
Gallagher and Viloria are not currently on the 40-man roster, so two moves will need to be made before Opening Day rosters are chiseled in stone.
Gabriel Arias and Will Brennan figure to be on the bench but still getting a decent amount of playing time — that’s if Arias is healed from a hand contusion he suffered when he was hit by a pitch in Friday night’s game against the Cubs.