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News and Notes: Details of Guardians’ Pending Deal With Bally’s Begin to Emerge

News and Notes for Monday, February 1st, 2024

MLB: Spring Training-Kansas City Royals at Chicago Cubs Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Drellich of the Athletic is following up his earlier report that the Guardians and Bally Sports will agree on a one-year deal to broadcast their games with a subsequent report that the team will get 85% or more of what they were owed ($60 million) for the season:

Personally, I doubt this leads to pursuit of any available free agents (Jorge Soler, J.D. Martinez, Tommy Pham, etc) but it may allow for modest extension talks for a couple Guardians in the Spring, depending on how the Guardians view the long-term stability of TV/streaming revenue. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that, however.

The Guardians added RH relief pitcher Tyler Zuber on a minor-league deal. Zuber was recovering from shoulder surgery in 2023 and has struck out a ton of hitters in the minors (11.7 per 9) and a good number in the majors (10 per 9), but he has also walked a ton (3.2 per 9 in the minors and 6.7 per 9 in the majors). His profile looks like he’s got a good slider and curve, an average change, but he has trouble keeping a 94-95 mph fastball away from barrels. He spent some time at Driveline this offseason and apparently the Guardians liked what they saw there, and probably feel they can fix a former Royals pitcher.

I think Zuber and Barria are probably the most interesting arms the Guardians have added on minor-league deals and I’d like to see both stay with the organization in some capacity as the season begins, if both look healthy in spring training.

Kiley McDaniel’s Top 100 Prospect Rankings for ESPN were released, and he had Chase DeLauter 42nd, Brayan Rocchio 79th, Kyle Manzardo 83rd and Daniel Espino 92nd. He speculated that DeLauter could make it to the big leagues by the end of the 2024 season, and compared Kyle Manzardo to Nate Lowe. Notably, both Brayan Rocchio and Kyle Manzardo are now eligible to earn the Guardians a compensation draft pick if they break camp with the team and proceed to win AL rookie of the year. I hope both get legitimate shots to win spots on the 26-man roster in Spring Training (again, though, it’s going to be about the work they put in and skills they show not about results in box scores).

Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com looked up and noticed that starting pitching depth might be a problem for the 2024 Guardians.