At long last the wait is finally over. The path for Bo Naylor to come up and be a regular presence in the Guardians lineup is no longer blocked after veteran backstop Mike Zunino was designated for assignment Friday. This cleared a spot for Naylor in Cleveland and will be thrust into action (almost) immediately, as he is set to be behind the plate with Tanner Bibee on the mound Sunday.
Things did not work out with the veteran Zunino and it became very apparent that other options needed to be explored. The most popular and logical option was bringing up the little brother of Josh "I want the smoke" Naylor.
Cleveland was doing all the could to delay the inevitable arrival of Bo, but their hand was forced and a decision was made to shake up their roster. Naylor had nothing left to prove in Columbus and was only just waiting for his opportunity at the big league level to come.
One particular area that was keeping Naylor in Columbus longer than he should have been was his lack of experience catching major league pitching. Well, as the Guardians pitching staff has seen extensive shuffling this season, there are a few arms that Naylor has caught before down in Triple-A who now qualify as major league pitching. It is not a coincidence by any means that Naylor's first catching assignment when he returns to the Guardians will be Bibee. This is by design as Naylor has caught Bibee previously and that should help the comfort of both players in Sunday's series finale.
Naylor was doing everything he could down in Columbus to make his return to Cleveland. 25 of Naylor's 55 hits have gone for extra-bases (13 home runs and 12 doubles). While not a fair or exact comparison, Cleveland's trio of Zunino, Cam Gallagher, and David Fry have combined for 15 extra-base hits this season, with the recently DFA'd backstop responsible for 10 of those hits.
The Guardians do not need Naylor to be an instant All-Star or play at the level of someone like Adley Rutschman, although both would be clearly welcome. Cleveland just needs someone who can provide something of substance offensively while not being a complete disaster defensively. That is not too much to ask from Bo Naylor now is it?