As was the expecation upon being designated for assignment last week, Mike Zunino has been released by the Cleveland Guardians. This development is hardly surprising considering his lack of effectiveness this season. In his place, the Guardians are giving Bo Naylor the chance to show he is catcher of the future in Cleveland.
It is noteworthy that even after being designated for assignment that there was not a single team interested in working out a trade for the veteran backstop. For comparison, the Guardians ended up working out a deal for the also DFA'd Richie Palacios just before deciding to move on from Zunino. Zunino's $6 million salary (and what remains for the rest of the season) may have been just too much for any team who may have been interested in acquiring his services.
Signing Zunino was always going to be a gamble for the Guardians, a lottery ticket if you will. Like most lottery tickets, things did not work out in their favor. Cleveland was hoping that the 32-year old would be able to recapture some of his power output shown in previous seasons. This addition was supposed to supplement last year's young and exciting, but power devoid team. Even with the expectation of a poor slash line, there was still the chance he could still hit for enough power to make up for it. Unfortunately Cleveland got neither.
It would have been one thing if Zunino was awful at the plate, but elite defensively, like many previous Cleveland catchers. The problem is that Zunino is a major liability defensively and with his lack of production at the plate it became incredibly difficult to justify his spot in the lineup on an almost daily basis. This all ended up in Cleveland's hand being forced and ultimately designating him for assignment and subsequently releasing him less than a week later.