Guardians option two to Triple-A Columbus

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Guardians
Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Guardians / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

There are certain players, if optioned, would be considered quite surprising, while there are others that are very much expected. The recent duo sent to Triple-A by the Cleveland Guardians are members of the latter group and not the former.

Pitcher Daniel Espino and outfielder George Valera were optioned to the Columbus Clippers by the Guardians on Friday, according to reports. Even though the roster move is very noteworthy considering the amount of discussion that has taken place about these two prospects in recent years, this transaction should not take anyone by surprise.

Espino is a promising pitching prospect but has missed a considerable amount of time due to injuries the past few seasons. The 23-year-old right-hander made just four appearances in 2022 for the Akron RubberDucks (Cleveland's Double-A affiliate) before he was eventually shut down for the year. Espino would not pitch at all in 2023 and would undergo surgery on his right shoulder that was expected to keep him out of action for at least a year. Espino is not expected to be available to pitch this year until the middle of the season.

Valera, like Espino, has also been unable to shake the injury bug. There was an outside chance of Valera making the major league roster this spring, but that was erased after suffering a hamstring injury in late February that has and will continue to keep him out of action. This is unfortunate timing for Valera, as there was a potential path toward playing time in the majors with Cleveland's outfield mix not being locked in outside of Steven Kwan. 

It was always going to be quite difficult for either player to avoid being optioned. The Guardians' priority is for these two players to recover properly while they sort through some of their options at the major league level. There is a world where one, if not both, players could make an impact for the Guardians this season, but that is definitely far enough into the future that it should not be counted on at this time.