The Cleveland Guardians are learning from their mistakes.
After not having nearly enough depth at catcher last year behind star rookie Bo Naylor, the Guardians appear to be on a mission this offseason to add as much catching depth as they can. They already claimed catcher Christian Bethancourt from the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this month, and on Friday they acquired another backstop.
Cleveland has traded right-handed pitcher Cal Quantrill to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for catching prospect Kody Huff.
At first glance, this move looks like a win for both sides. The Guardians needed to move Quantrill after designating him for assignment on Wednesday, as they needed his roster spot to protect pitching prospect Daniel Espino from the Rule 5 Draft. Rather than losing Quantrill for nothing on waivers, they were at least able to get something back for him.
The Rockies, meanwhile, have been strapped for pitching since their inaugural season in 1993 and could always use more arms, so Quantrill should be a welcome addition to their pitching staff.
In return, Cleveland is getting an intriguing prospect in Huff. The 22-year-old receiver was drafted by Colorado in the seventh round in 2022 and spent 2023 in Single-A, where he batted a solid .262/.357/.374 with 5 home runs and 36 RBIs in 86 games. The hope is that he develops more power as he matures, but he's already shown a solid batting eye.
The Guardians will miss Quantrill, who joined them during the 2020 campaign and still had two years of team control remaining. He regressed in 2023 after excellent seasons in 2021 and 2022, however, slipping to 4-7 with a 5.24 ERA. Given Cleveland's abundance of young arms, he became expendable, especially given his age (28) and price tag ($5.6 million last year).
Hopefully Quantrill is able to turn things around with the Rockies, but pitching in Coors Field isn't easy -- especially for guys who don't miss many bats like Quantrill. Meanwhile, the Guardians hope that Huff develops into a quality player for their organization and could even use him as a potential trade chip down the line if needed.
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