Guardians claim veteran backstop on waivers

Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians
Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians continue to add backstops who have played for the Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, and Tampa Bay Rays. After hiring Stephen Vogt to be their manager, Cleveland has claimed catcher Christian Bethancourt on waivers from the Rays, according to a report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times

Bethancourt has spent the last season-plus with Tampa Bay, appearing in 148 games with the Rays. Offensively, Bethancourt is relatively unexciting with a career .231/.261/.361 slash line over 365 career appearances with 53 doubles, 30 home runs, and 113 runs driven in with a weighted runs created plus of 72 over that span. This is nothing particularly special by any means, however, it is better than most of the production Cleveland got out of their catcher spots last season.

When it comes to his defense, there are three areas that stick out in particular, one for a good reason and the other two for the complete opposite. Starting with the positive, Bethancourt's arm strength was rated the best in baseball per Baseball Savant. Unfortunately, there are some issues when it comes to the majority of the duties Bethancourt will be tasked with, framing and blocking. Bethancourt was rated 41st as a framer of pitches and 64th in blocking, not exactly encouraging numbers, which also come by way of Baseball Savant. 

The good news is that hopefully, the Guardians will not need to rely on Bethancourt all that much due to the presence of Bo Naylor. Naylor saw plenty of action down the stretch and is clearly the Guardians' catcher of the future. The acquisition of Bethancourt should not impact Naylor in any way. Bethancourt, if he hangs on with the Guardians into next season, should serve as a backup option on the bench behind the younger Naylor. His skill set is more than fine as a backup option, but is also not one that they should fully commit to either.