The Cleveland Guardians had an eventful Friday on November 19, 2021.

In addition to fully adopting their new team name, dropping merchandise (and signs, apparently), they had to set their 40 man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft that likely won’t be happening at its normally scheduled time during the winter meetings due to an impending lockout. Still, with the current CBA still in use, the deadline was today.

Cleveland Guardians added 11 players to the 40 man roster on Friday night:

PosNameAgeBTHeightWeightOptionsFA EligibleSalaryAcquiredYear
1SPCody Morris24R6’52223N/ARookie minimumDraft (7th round)2018
2SPTobias Myers23R6’01933N/AMinor LeagueTrade TB (Junior Caminiero)2021
3SPKonnor Pilkington24L6’32403N/AMinor LeagueTrade CHW (Cesar Hernandez)2021
4CBryan Lavastida22RR6′2003N/AMinor LeagueDraft (15th round)2018
5SSTyler Freeman22RR6’01803N/AMinor LeagueDraft (CBB)2017
61B/3BJhonkensy Noel20RR6’11803N/ARookie minimumInternational FA2017
7SSBrayan Rocchio20SR5’101503N/ARookie minimumInternational FA2017
8IFJose Tena20LR5’91593N/AMinor LeagueInternational FA2017
9OFSteven Kwan23LL5’91753N/AMinor LeagueDraft (5th round)2018
10OF/2BRichie Palacios24LR5’111803N/AMinor LeagueDraft (3rd round)2018
11OFGeorge Valera20LL5’101603N/AMinor LeagueInternational FA2017

Guardians President of Baseball Operations said he has never seen the club add as many players to its 40 man roster.

“Not only is it a lot of players for us, it’s among the highest total that’s ever been added at least in recent history, the last 10 or 15 years,” Antonetti said on Saturday. “More than anything, we view it as a sign of organizational health. All of our acquisition channels contributed to this group – high draft picks and low, guys from trades and Latin America. I think it’s a sign of the organizational health we have and how strongly we feel about the talent base within the organization.”

The newest one added through a trade, which was RHP Tobias Myers, who came over from the also 40 man roster strapped Tampa Bay Rays. Myers is a 23-year-old 6’0 right-hander who was a starter in 2021 and put together a solid season and is a Guardians type pitcher.

“He is a guy we’ve talked about for quite a while,” Antonetti said. “We had a few conversations with the Rays about him this past deadline. He’s an athletic, right-handed pitcher with a good, four-pitch mix. His fastball has really good life. His change-up is currently his best secondary pitch, but he also has a curveball and cutter.”

Antonetti said that Myers would join the organization with the idea of keeping him as a starter.

Cleveland Guardians removed from the 40 man roster

PosNameAgeBTHeightWeightOptionsFA EligibleSalaryAcquiredYear
1OFDaniel Johnson26LL5’101901N/ARookie minimumTrade WSH (Yan Gomes)2018
2OFHarold Ramirez27RR5’1023202026Pre-Arb 3Waivers MIA2021
3LHPScott Moss26L6’62252N/AMinor LeagueTrade CIN (Trevor Bauer)2019
4LHPKyle Nelson251756’11752N/ARookie minimumDraft (15th round)2016
5LHPAlex Young28L6’222022026Pre-Arb 3Waivers ARZ2021
6RHPJustin Garza27R5’1017022027Rookie minimumDraft (8th round)2015
7RHPJ.C Mejia24R6’42400N/ARookie minimumInternational FA2013

One name that stood out was Johnson, who had an option remaining and never really got much consistent playing time up in Cleveland. He traveled back and forth on the club’s COVID-induced taxi squad in both 2020 and 2021, taking away more chances to play consistently at any level.

“[Johnson] put in a tremendous amount of effort and worked really hard,” Antonetti said. “We had a really difficult time unlocking that at the major league level. He put together some really successful seasons in the minor leagues but just hasn’t yet been able to transition that to major league performance. In an ideal world, we would have continued down that path with Daniel, but obviously, when we’re adding 11 players, we had to make some difficult decisions with the players we took off, and Daniel was one of those. I still believe he’s going go on and be a productive offensive player at the major league level.”

With the additions, Cleveland has nine players who can play shortstop, and seven who are realistic players at short regularly. Finding roster spots and at bats in April (or whenever the 2022 MLB season starts) between Cleveland, Columbus and Akron might be challenging for all of them.

“At least in the near term, we think we will continue to have opportunities for each of them based upon where they are and where we expect them to contribute next year,” Antonetti said. “I do think you’ll probably see us with a few of those guys continue to give them opportunities at other positions to increase the flexibility and opportunities to contribute at the major league level for us. But as I said at the beginning, we view that as a good problem to have. You won’t find Mike [Chernoff] and I complaining about having too many good players at any position, especially positions as demanding as the middle-infield positions.” 

Their 40 man roster now stands at 40 for the time being.

Teams can still make moves up until midnight on December 1 when the current CBA expires, but, any player NOT currently on the 40 man roster cannot be protected when traded, thus still making them eligible for the Rule 5 draft, whenever that actually takes place.

There is also a minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft where 38 additional players are protected. Anyone drafted in the minor league portion do not have to stay on a major league roster all year and usually are not returned to their previous club. This list of 38 isn’t usually publicly known, but every year you can usually check the Columbus Clippers roster to see certain players who haven’t quite ascended to that level get added to their paper roster (example, Will Benson was moved up to the Columbus roster at the end of 2020 despite never playing above High-A at that point, likely a sign of being added to the list of protected 38 from the minor league portion).

One big set of news is taken care of with these moves and there’s just about two weeks left before the inevitable lockout to make additional moves, if any.

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