This past week the Cleveland Guardians made some roster decisions removing four players from the 40-man roster. These moves come as outfielder Josh Naylor and reliever Nick Sandlin are scheduled to come off of the 60-day injured list. Also factoring in is the November 19th deadline for teams to protect minor league players who are Rule 5 Draft eligible.
Roberto Perez 2022 option declined
The Guardians declined the 2022 option on catcher Roberto Perez worth $7 million making him a free agent. The oft-injured Perez hit .149 with 7 home runs and 17 RBI's in only 44 games for the 2021 season. He hit only .155 combined for the 2020 & 2021 seasons. 2019 was his best season in Cleveland when he hit .239 with a career high 24 home runs and won a gold glove. It was hard to justify paying Perez $7 million in 2022 when he has not proven he can stay healthy and produce offensively the past two seasons. Cleveland will pay him a $650,000 buyout that is owed due to the declining of the option.
Nick Wittgren and Cam Hill outrighted to AAA
Relievers Nick Wittgren and Cam Hill were both outrighted to AAA Columbus. Both players elected free agency.
Wittgren struggled in 2021 after becoming an integral piece of the Cleveland bullpen the previous two seasons. He finished the 2021 season with a 5.05 ERA and allowed 13 home runs in 62.1 innings pitched. Wittgren was a favorite of Guardians manager Terry Francona.
Hill did not appear in a game for Cleveland in 2021 after making his major league debut during the 2020 season posting a 4.91 ERA in 18 appearances. He spent the entire 2021 season on the 60-day injured list after an off-season car accident that left Hill with a broken right wrist requiring surgery. He did appear in 24 games with AAA Columbus late in the season posting an 8.03 ERA.
Francisco Perez designated for assignment
The 24-year old Perez made his major league debut with Cleveland in 2021. He appeared in 4 games allowing 3 earned tuns in 6.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen. Perez was dominant in 2021 at the AA and AAA levels posting a combined 1,87 ERA with 82 strike outs in 53 innings pitched. He was claimed by the Washington Nationals.
The Cleveland organization has several talented prospects eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. There are still many tough roster decisions on the horizon for the Guardians front office.