As expected, the Cleveland Guardians were busy ahead of the 40-man roster deadline. In order to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, the Guardians added prized pitching prospect Daniel Espino to the 40-man, along with Cade Smith.
Adding Espino and Smith to the 40-man doesn't come as much of a shock. Espino, despite his injury history, likely has a bright future in the Cleveland bullpen. The same could be said for Smith, who spent time between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus in 2023, striking out 95 hitters in 62 2/3 combined innings.
Perhaps most surprisingly, though, the Guardians designated starting pitcher Cal Quantrill for assignment, ending his tenure in Cleveland without even a trade possibly taking place (it was reported earlier that he would likely be on the move this offseason), though the Guardians still have ten days to try to make that happen.
Quantrill was due to make somewhere around $6.6 million next season and battled injuries in 2023. Though he came on strong to end the season, he was ineffective for much of the year and sports concerning underlying statistics that suggest it would be difficult for him to replicate his impressive 2021 and 2022 campaigns.
The Guardians also designated righty Michael Kelly for assignment, opening the two spots on the 40-man for Espino and Smith.