The Guardians have tendered non-tendered relief pitcher Anthony Gose and catcher Luke Maile to seven arbitration-eligible players before Friday night’s deadline.
Gose is recovering from surgery on Tommy John and was scheduled for deployment last week. He struggled to continue a positive, albeit brief, performance in 2021 (1.26 ERA in 14⅓ innings), posting a 4.71 ERA in 21 innings before going down with the injury.
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Maile served as the club’s backup to Austin Hedges at the catcher for most of the year, hitting .221 with a .627 OPS in 206 plate appearances. Both are known for their defensive skills behind the plate and both are now free agents. Hedges became a free agent at the end of the World Series. At least one could return as the only catchers in the club’s 40-man squad are rookies Bo Naylor and Bryan Lavastida.
The Guardians have seven eligible players who were offered contracts on Friday night. This list includes, with MLB trade rumors Arbitration predictions in parentheses, Shane Bieber ($10.7 million), Amed Rosario ($9 million), Cal Quantrill ($6 million), Josh Naylor ($3.5 million), Zach Plesac ($2.9 million), Aaron Civale ($2.2 million) and James Karinchak ($1.4 million). Rosario will be eligible to be a free agent at the end of the 2023 season, subject to a multi-year extension. Bieber may face a free hand after the 2024 season.
Nolan Jones joined the Colorado Rockies
Nolan Jones, once the club’s top pick, is on the way. The Guardians sold Jones, who had no clear path to the majors, to the Colorado Rockies for infield prospect Juan Brito, who then had his contract picked and was included in the 40-man roster.
Jones made his MLB debut in 2022, hitting .244 with .681 OPS in fewer than 100 plate appearances. But with Jose Ramirez at third base, Josh Naylor taking first base, and Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez showing up to secure corner outfield spots, Jones’ path to any significant playing time in the majors was blocked. For years, Cleveland traded Jones in the minor leagues hoping to create an opportunity. While that opportunity arose, Kwan and Gonzalez, who played key roles, left Jones as underdogs.
“We continue to believe that Nolan will carry on and be a truly productive major league player,” said Chris Antonetti, president of baseball operations. “However, as we started to look at our roster composition for next year, where there might be opportunities for Nolan, perhaps his path was a little less clear at that point, with just a few levels.”
“For us it was about the opportunity to win Juan. He’s a really athletic midfielder. He played second most of the time, but we also think he could slide down the left side and play some short ones and thirds. Really good switch-hitter, who had excellent control of the hitting zone, had more walks than strikeouts with some power last year. We found this to be a really interesting skill to bring to the organization.
Brito, 21, posted an OPS of .877 in 497 plate appearances at Single-A last season.
The Guardians also assigned pitcher Carlos Vargas to the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed pitcher Ross Carver and chose the contracts (meaning they were included in the 40-man roster) left-handed pitchers Joey Cantillo and Tim Herrin and infielder Angel Martinez out. Kirk McCarty was assigned to the mission along with Gose. McCarty ended the season on a good note, posting a 2.45 ERA in the second half.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/cleveland-guardians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.