Guards DFA Anthony Gose, Kirk McCarty

The Guardians announced a series of roster changes as they drafted their 40-man roster ahead of next month’s Rule 5 Draft. In addition to tonight’s pair of trades – Nolan Jones to the Rockies; Carlos Vargas to the D-backs — Cleveland has designated left-handers Anthony Gosse and Kirk McCarty for assignment. 40-man series deductions pave way for the Guardians to select infielder’s contracts Angel Martinez and left-handers Joey Cantillo and Tim Herrin. Cleveland also selected the infielder John Brito, which they acquired from Colorado in exchange for Jones. The squad’s 40-man roster is full.

It’s been quite a year for McCarty from a transactions standpoint. Originally called to the Majors in April as a replacement for Covid, McCarty was sent back to the minors soon after, but was formally selected to the 40-man roster the following month. Cleveland designated him for assignment on July 3, after which he was claimed by the Orioles, who designated him for assignment just nine days later and lost him on waivers… back to the Guardians. Aside from that series of moves, McCarty was optioned four times over the course of his rollercoaster season for the minors.

The 27-year old McCarty had decent but unspectacular results at the big league level in his rookie effort this year, recording a 4.54 ERA in 37 2/3 frames. His 16.4% strikeout percentage was way below average, but he delivered a respectable 8.2% walk rate. McCarty has above-average spin on his fastball and curveball, but he doesn’t throw particularly hard or miss many bats, and the 2.63 HR/9 he put up this season is a definite red flag. He was solid in Triple-A (3.52 ERA in 65 1/3 innings) and has several minor league option years left, so another club in need of some left-handed depth could take a look.

Gose, 32, has been one of baseball’s feel-good stories in recent years. Originally a second-round pick and a top contender as an outfielder, his career stalled after he was unable to produce much at the plate in the Majors or the upper minors. Gose, a two-way high school star who some scouts favored as a pitcher in the draft, returned to the mound in A-ball at the age of 26 in 2017 and, after taking several years to refine his command and learn to control his blazing fastball, finally back in the big leagues in 2021.

Gose didn’t just return to the Majors last year, though. He pitched 6 2/3 innings out of the Cleveland bullpen, allowing only one run on two hits and two walks with nine strikeouts and a heater that average 99.2mph. It was a small sample, of course, but Gose stormed out of the gates in 2022 with 20 1/3 innings of 3.10 ERA ball and a 31.4% strikeout percentage. A walk seemed to be a problem (14%), but at that point, Gose’s big league pitching career consisted of 27 innings of 3.00 ERA-ball with 36 strikeouts.

However, the Yankees pounced on Gose for four runs in his next outing, putting him on the injured list. The Guardians initially characterized the move as a move of necessity with a looming double header, but Gose’s absence proved prolonged, and more than two months after he was shelved, the team announced that Gose had Tommy John surgery undergo. The September 14 date of proceedings all but formally rules out Gose for the 2023 campaign, so it’s no surprise that the Guardians are opening his roster spot this way.

Two of their top 30 prospects — Martinez and Cantillo — are added to the Guardians’ 40-man roster, as well as a lefty reliever (Herrin) who posted eye-watering numbers in Double-A. Baseball America ranks Martinez 12th in Cleveland’s system and Cantillo 15th. Martinez hit .278/.378/.471 this season as a 20-year-old between High-A and Double-A. Cantillo was limited to only 60 2/3 innings this season with a shoulder injury, but played 14 times (13 starts) with a 1.93 ERA and 35.5% strikeout rate. Herrin, 26, had a 2.01 ERA and 41.6% strikeout rate in 22 1/3 Double-A innings before being bumped to Triple-A, where he recorded a 4.98 ERA and “only” a 30.9 strikeout rate % in 47 frames.

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