MLB rumors: A’s bolster pitching staff, Guardians embrace youth, more

Bo Naylor, Cleveland Guardians (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Bo Naylor, Cleveland Guardians (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
2 of 3
Bo Naylor (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Bo Naylor (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

MLB rumors: Guardians call up catching prospect Bo Naylor

The Cleveland Guardians have assigned veteran catcher Mike Zunino to the triple-A Columbus Clippers and will subsequently call up 23-year-old Bo Naylor to the big leagues. Naylor has been in the Guardians’ long-term plans for a few years now, but he’s about to be thrust directly into the spotlight as the full-time starting catcher.

Zunino simply hasn’t been up to snuff for Cleveland this year, slashing .177/.271/.306 at the plate and offering minimal support on the defensive end. The Guardians are 33-38, which places them second in the god-awful AL Central but nowhere near a wild card spot. The offense has been a real point of weakness and Naylor should offer immediate support.

He’s not an elite hitter by any stretch, but Naylor is slashing .253/.393/.891 in the minors with 55 hits, 13 home runs, and 48 RBIs in 217 at-bats. He can make contact and get on base, which has not been the case for an alarming number of position players in the Guardians’ lineup this year. He also has the unique opportunity to start alongside his brother in the big leagues, joining Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor.

Here’s more info background on Naylor, Cleveland’s No. 1 prospect, from FanGraphs:

"“So, what can the Guardians expect to get from Naylor? Instant stardom is unlikely to be in the cards; his bat isn’t that crazy for a Triple-A hitter in 2023, and he’s struggling to throw out runners, which matters more now than it has in a long time in baseball. ZiPS translates his 2023 minor league line at .229/.342/.384 with 12 homers, which doesn’t exactly give the Guardians their own version of Adley Rutschman, but a .726 OPS would basically lap most of the team, behind only José Ramírez and Bo’s brother Josh Naylor.”"