Guardians option catcher to Triple-A

The Cleveland Guardians have decided to option one of their catchers to Triple-A Columbus.

As most expected, Bo Naylor will begin the 2023 season in Columbus. The Cleveland Guardians have optioned the younger Naylor to Triple-A as they are narrowing down their options to backup veteran Mie Zunino to begin the season.

Naylor is currently with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, but was still able to have some at-bats with the Guardians (going 1-6 in four games). Cleveland did give Naylor his first taste of the big leagues late last year with the catching prospect going hitless in eight at-bats with five strikeouts. Improvement is needed if Naylor is going to get called back up this season and potentially take over the catching position. The good news for Naylor is that his chance may come sooner rather than later.

Guardians catching options

The starting job in Cleveland belongs to Mike Zunino at the moment. Zunino is not consistent offensively with a batting average that is usually uninspiring with some power bursts. Zunino has hit 20 or more home runs four times in 10 seasons with a career-high 33 coming in 2021. Injuries and inconsistency led to a combined 18 home runs in three of his last four seasons (2019, 2020, 2022). A injury-riddled or disappointing season could impact Cleveland’s decision with Naylor down the line.

With Naylor being optioned that leaves five options to backup Mike Zunino. Byran Lavastida, Cam Gallagher, David Fry, Zack Collins, and Meibrys Viloria. It would not be surprising to see Cleveland opt to go with a catcher with some experience over a young option with little to none as Zunino’s backup. Gallagher has 171 appearances, Collins has 170, and Viloria 93. In comparison Lavastida has just six while Fry is yet to play in the majors.

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