The Pirates and the Guardians have talked about trading outfielder Bryan Reynolds. Do they pursue Reynolds or Oakland catcher Sean Murphy?
The Guardians are torn between two major transactions
Or, as Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reports, they could take a different approach and sign a free agent catcher before attempting to sign Reynolds.
They could also re-sign free agent Austin Hedges while grooming rookie Bo Naylor to take over as head coach in 2023.
The Guardians have been after Reynolds for several years. They couldn’t reach an agreement, so they went to Houston and made the Myles Straw deal.
On Monday, the Pirates’ manager, Derek Shelton, was asked about Reynolds’ trade request. He stated: “It’s unfortunate it came out in public. Look, when you have good players people are going to ask for them. I tell people all the time when I was in Cleveland and we had those good teams, we got those players because we traded for them.”
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According to Chris Antonetti, president of baseball operations, Cleveland’s catching situation is a work in progress. Naylor is an important part of that effort.
The Guardians are trying to figure out how to give Naylor the necessary big-league experience without overexposing him.
Antonetti stated: “We’ve spent a lot of time talking through that, I’m not sure there is a simple answer to that. How do we position Bo and the team for success?
“Indidivually we want to make sure Bo is as prepared as possible when the opportunity is there for him to come up and contribute to us winning games. On a team level, one of the things we continue to wrestle with is at what point do we start planning for Bo. It’s hard to answer.”
For starters, the Guardians may sign a veteran catcher before the season starts. A starting catcher, on the other hand, has more on his plate than most regulars.
Antonetti said: “One of the reasons why we wanted to get Bo in the enviroment last year was to hopefully accelerate his comfort with out staff. Having him around Tito, having him around the coaching staff, having him around Sandy Alomar (catching coach), we felt that would accelerate his readiness to transition into the role,”
“Is it fair for that to happen on opening day next year? I’m not sure. Is it some point during the season, hopefully. But it’s hard to predict.”
“We’re not in a position to say, ‘Let’s just see how it goes, we feel we have a good team that’s capable of competing,” said Antonetti.
Following his promotion, Naylor appeared in just five games. He had an 0-8 record. He hit.263 (109 for 415) with 26 doubles, 21 home runs, and 68 RBI at Class AA Akron and Class AAA Columbus before being promoted.
According to GM Mike Chernoff, Naylor changed his defensive crouch for the 2022 season, which relieved pressure on his legs. It encouraged him to hit with his legs more often.
The Guardians’ decision will be based on where Naylor begins the 2023 season. Will it be Murphy, Vazquez, or another Cather employee?
If they sign a free agent catcher, will they try to sign switch-hitter Reynolds?
With Boston and Houston, he hit 274 (109 for 398) with nine home runs and 52 RBI.
Antonetti said:“What makes it most challenging is when there are other alternatives, how do you weigh those other alternatives and whether or not it makes sense to strike on those before you have clarity on other guys on the list.”