Predicting the 2022 Cleveland Guardians 40-man roster

Tyler Freeman #68 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Tyler Freeman #68 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 20: Steven Kwan #1 of the Cleveland Indians catches a line drive hit by Eloy Jiménez #74 of the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning of a spring training game at Camelback Ranch on March 20, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 20: Steven Kwan #1 of the Cleveland Indians catches a line drive hit by Eloy Jiménez #74 of the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning of a spring training game at Camelback Ranch on March 20, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The deadline for the Cleveland Guardians to set their 40-man roster is looming, so who is going to make it?

The Guardians have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, and that includes how to navigate their 40-man roster. With so many young players making their ascent to the majors, the active roster is starting to get a bit jam-packed – not to mention the consideration of many notable Rule 5-eligible players who must be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the prying eyes of other teams.

With that in mind, here are our predictions for the Guardians’ 40-man roster. This doesn’t take into account hypothetical trades (at least too much), which do seem increasingly likely. But for the purposes of this first pass, let’s just see what the team is currently working with internally.

40-man Roster Predictions for the Cleveland Guardians



  • Austin Hedges
  • Bryan Lavastida

It’s likely time for Guardians fans to say goodbye to Roberto Perez, unless he is willing to take a severely reduced contract after Cleveland passed on his $7 million team option. There’s always the chance the team looks outside the organization for a catcher to back up Austin Hedges, who is heading to arbitration himself this offseason. But Bryan Lavastida appears ready for a shot at the majors; the only question is whether the Guardians will want him to get more regular at-bats down in Triple-A Columbus.



  • Gabriel Arias
  • Bobby Bradley
  • Ernie Clement
  • Andres Gimenez
  • Owen Miller
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Amed Rosario
  • Tyler Freeman
  • Brayan Rocchio
  • Nolan Jones

There are a lot of decisions that need to be made in the Guardians infield. While Jose Ramirez is obviously entrenched at third and Amed Rosario appears locked in at shortstop for the time being, the other side of the diamond is in total flux. Bobby Bradley likely has the first-base job barring a move being made via trade or free agency, given his 99 wRC+ in 2021 and prolific power potential. Jhonkensy Noel is rocketing through the minors and will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year, but the Guardians might be able to get away with not adding him to the 40-man, because he’s still a few years away from major-league action. But he could very well be the team’s first baseman of the future.

So who is going to start at second base this year? Ernie Clement? Owen Miller? Andres Gimenez? Does Gabriel Arias just blow everyone away in spring training and take the job? It’s hard to say at this point, but ultimately, there isn’t a lot of turnover here at the moment, aside from potentially dropping Yu Chang to make room for some of the new names like the aforementioned Noel, along with Tyler Freeman and Brayan Rocchio, both of whom are also Rule 5-eligible.



  • Josh Naylor
  • Harold Ramirez
  • Franmil Reyes
  • Myles Straw
  • Richie Palacios
  • Steven Kwan
  • George Valera
  • Oscar Gonzalez

The outfield could look very, very different by Opening Day. There has of course been talk about Franmil Reyes possibly finding himself in the outfield more often, but it would be shocking for the Guardians to not acquire at least one outfielder this offseason, either through a trade or free-agent signing. Steven Kwan seems like a lock for the 40-man roster because he’s Rule 5-eligible and the 24-year-old put up really solid numbers at Triple-A Columbus in 2021, including a .311/.398/.505 line with five home runs and a 1.75 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 103 at-bats. But that also could make him an ideal piece to dangle out there as part of a larger trade. The Guardians have made it clear they intend to improve the outfield this offseason, and a former fifth-round pick like Kwan could certainly help them do that.

The same goes for Oscar Gonzalez, who hit 31 home runs in the minors this season with a .293/.329/.542 line between Akron and Columbus.

Assuming the Guardians look outside the organization for some additional outfield help – and honestly even if they don’t – the team knows what it has in Bradley Zimmer and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his time with Cleveland to come to an end in order to make room for these younger players. The prospect of seeing what they have with guys like Kwan, Gonzalez and Palacios is just too enticing to keep flailing about with Zimmer in the lineup.

Starting Rotation


  • Shane Bieber
  • Aaron Civale
  • Cal Quantrill
  • Zach Plesac
  • Triston McKenzie

The Guardians rotation is set, and boy does it look glorious. So glorious, in fact, there might even be some interesting trade chips just on the outside of the rotation – or possibly within it. The emergence of Cal Quantrill and Triston McKenzie last season opens a door that could allow the Guardians to entertain trading a rotation piece for a bat this offseason. If that happens, they’ll just have to bank on not going through another once-a-century rash of pitching injuries next year. The name immediately jumping out as a potential trade piece? Zach Plesac. If the Guardians were to parlay Plesac and some prospects into a major piece like, say, Bryan Reynolds from the Pittsburgh Pirates, I think fans could live with Eli Morgan, Logan Allen, or maybe Scott Moss/Cody Morris shoring up the rotation.



  • Emmanuel Clase
  • Anthony Gose
  • Sam Hentges
  • James Karinchak
  • J.C. Mejia
  • Eli Morgan
  • Scott Moss
  • Kyle Nelson
  • Nick Sandlin
  • Trevor Stephan
  • Carlos Vargas
  • Logan Allen
  • Cody Morris
  • Joey Cantillo
  • Konnor Pilkington

A bullpen can be a hard thing to predict, but there are certainly some solidified spots in place for the Guardians. You know Clase and Sandlin are going to solidify the back-end of the bullpen, but everything else is up in the air – including James Karinchak, whose future on the team should honestly be in question. Not just because of his struggles, but because he would be a great trade piece for another team in desperate need of bullpen help.

Steve DiMatteo is the host of the California Penal League Podcast, which you can find on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and anywhere else you get your podcasts.