Here's the Guardians' Opening Day roster

March 28th, 2024

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Guardians' Opening Day roster has been finalized.

From battling through a respiratory illness that sidelined players for as long as two weeks to watching three prominent relievers go down with injuries to learning that the club’s former top prospect will once again undergo season-ending surgery, the Guardians dealt with their fair share of hurdles this spring. Now, they’re ready to take their 26 top guys to Oakland.

In order to trim their roster down to just 26, the Guardians had to determine that center fielder and Rule 5 pick would not be part of the Opening Day group. Straw was officially outrighted to Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday. De Los Santos was returned to Arizona for $50,000.

The last open spot came down to the bullpen, but because the Guardians didn't make any external additions over the last few days, made the team. Here’s a look at the 25 other players who will join him:

Catchers (2): ,
Naylor is set to be the starter. Hedges is ready to be the veteran backup, imparting the wisdom he has gathered from his nine previous seasons in the big leagues.

First base (1):
Count on Naylor trying to prove he can be as stellar offensively as he was last year.

Second base (1): Andrés Giménez
The Platinum Glover is back at second.

Shortstop (1): Brayan Rocchio
After the work Rocchio put in while playing winter ball this offseason, he entered camp with tremendous confidence and saw better results at the plate, which earned him the starting job over .

Third base (1): José Ramírez
No need to waste time explaining this one.

Outfielders (5): , , Ramón Laureano, ,
Now that it’s been decided that Straw will not be on the Opening Day roster, the center field job is wide open for Freeman to take. The Guardians have raved all spring about how seamlessly the infielder transitioned to center field, and given the way he’s swung the bat this spring, he’s the favorite to start there on Thursday. Florial and Brennan will provide flexibility and versatility as extra outfielders, while Kwan reclaims his spot in left and Laurano is expected to handle the bulk of the innings in right.

Bench/utility (2): ,
With Fry’s ability to play the corner-outfield and infield spots on top of his experience behind the plate, his versatility is perfect for the utility role. Because Arias didn’t win the starting shortstop job, the Guardians are looking to move him around the diamond.

Starting pitchers (5): , , , ,
Carrasco was chosen to be the fifth starter for this rotation after was sidelined with elbow discomfort at the end of camp. Until he's back to full strength, Carrasco will handle the starting duties.

Relief pitchers (8): , , , , , , ,
The club lost and for a while due to the virus that spread through the clubhouse, which put them too far behind to be ready by Opening Day. was slowed by a swollen middle finger on his throwing hand and is working his way back now. has to undergo elbow surgery this month and has no return date in sight. is still building up after reporting to camp with right shoulder fatigue. This meant the Guardians needed other guys to step up.

Gaddis was excellent this spring, while Beede will provide some much-needed length and Herrin started pounding the strike zone as spring camp progressed. The Guardians sat down with Smith and let him know that he’s done everything right to earn his spot on this team, but Cleveland will need to figure out how best to use him and everyone else in the 'pen.