Guardians Make Shocking Cal Quantrill Move at Rule 5 Deadline

The Cleveland Guardians made a surprising decision on Cal Quantrill on Tuesday.
The Cleveland Guardians made a surprising decision on Cal Quantrill on Tuesday. / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Guardians fans were nervous for most of Tuesday leading up to the Rule 5 Draft deadline. The Guardians still hadn't added pitching prospect Daniel Espino to the club's 40-man roster, making him one of just five top-100 prospects in the sport who was still unprotected.

Fortunately, Cleveland came to its senses and added Espino to the roster at the last minute. The Guardians had to remove someone from the roster to make room for him, however, and that ended up being a fellow pitcher.

MLB insider Robert Murray revealed on Tuesday evening that the Guardians were designating veteran pitcher Cal Quantrill for assignment, which means they now have seven days to either trade Quantrill or place him on waivers.

The move isn't too surprising, as Quantrill struggled with Cleveland in 2023. He finished the year 4-7 with a 5.24 ERA, taking a major step back after going 15-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 2022. Still, some thought Quantrill might have saved his job after finishing the season strong, going 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA in six September starts.

The Guardians already have a lot of pitching depth, however, making Quantrill the odd man out. While he's had a solid five-year career to this point, the 28-year-old's strikeout rate has regressed in three straight seasons and suggests that he's trending in the wrong direction.

Espino, on the other hand, is 22 and has a lot more upside, especially after flashing a 2.45 ERA, a 0.71 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings during his most recent minor league season in 2022. The young right-hander owns an impressive 14.9 K/9 in the minors, indicating that he has a chance to be a future star.

Time will tell where Quantrill ends up and whether Espino realizes his potential, but for now this seems like the right move for Cleveland.

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