The MLB deadline to protect prospects ahead of December’s Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the 40-man roster was on Tuesday, at 6 p.m. ET.
That means teams had to get creative to free some roster spots via trades or designations for assignment (DFA).
The Cleveland Guardians, known for producing and developing lots of excellent prospects, decided to protect two of them: pitchers Daniel Espino and Cade Smith.
Since they didn’t agree to any trades, they had to free up a couple of 40-man roster spots to make it possible.
One of them was created by DFAing a notable name: Cal Quantrill.
“The Guardians are designating Cal Quantrill for assignment. He was projected to earn $6.6M next season and had two years of team control remaining. His 2023 was marred by injury/ineffectiveness, though he did have a strong September,” Zack Meisel tweeted.
Cleveland's 40-man roster additions: pitchers Daniel Espino, Cade Smith
Reliever Michael Kelly also designated for assignment.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) November 14, 2023
It had to be a tough decision.
Even though Quantrill had a poor 5.24 ERA in 99.2 innings last year, he had been a reliable arm every year before that.
In 2020, his first year in Cleveland, he posted a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings.
Then, in 2021, he was at 2.89 in 149.2 frames.
In 2022, he posted a 3.38 ERA in 186.1 innings.
As you can see, there is talent in Quantrill’s right arm.
Injuries certainly played a role in his mediocre 2023, and now some team might have a chance to acquire him on the cheap as a reclamation project.
Both Espino and Smith are very talented prospects, though, with the former recovering from serious shoulder surgery.
Michael Kelly was also designated for assignment to make room for the young pair.