Guards acquire Barlow from SD for De Los Santos, sign Laureano to 1-yr deal

November 18th, 2023

CLEVELAND -- The Guardians completed a busy non-tender deadline on Friday by acquiring right-handed reliever from the Padres for right-handed reliever and signing outfielder to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.

The Barlow trade essentially offsets the cost savings of the move the Guards made earlier in the week, when they designated right-hander Cal Quantrill for assignment. Quantrill, who is in his second round of arbitration eligibility, was dealt to the Rockies on Friday for Minor League catcher Kody Huff. De Los Santos was entering his first round of arbitration, while Barlow is entering his final year of eligibility before reaching free agency after the 2024 season.

Quantrill is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to command $6.6 million in arbitration, Barlow is projected for $7.1 million and De Los Santos is projected for $1.2 million. Laureano’s contract figure for 2024 was not immediately available, though he had been projected to make $4.7 million by MLB Trade Rumors.

“Had we not made the move with Cal, I’m not sure we would have been able to acquire Scott,” Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said.

The 30-year-old Barlow split the 2023 season between the Royals and Padres, going 2-6 with a 4.37 ERA in 68 innings over 63 appearances. He struck out 79 batters with 34 walks and four homers allowed. He had 13 saves.

Cleveland is familiar with Barlow, who had spent the majority of his career with the American League Central-rival Royals, for whom he posted consecutive sub-2.50 ERAs in 2021-22 while making a combined 140 appearances.

De Los Santos spent two seasons with the Guardians after signing as a Minor League free agent. He had a 3.18 ERA, 123 strikeouts and 42 walks across 119 innings in 120 appearances.

The Guardians believe Barlow is a better fit in the bullpen than De Los Santos for 2024 because of their need for late-inning relievers. Cleveland suffered 10 losses in ’23 after having a lead through seven frames. In games that were decided in the seventh inning or later, the Guardians were 29-34. The team is hoping that Barlow can help fix that problem.

“We did not perform as well in the late innings and lost a lot of those close games,” Antonetti said. “So, what we were hoping to do is add another leverage reliever that can help us when those games are tight. It gives us another option on the days when Emmanuel [Clase] isn’t available or maybe a little bit fatigued, we have another option to go to back there.”

Laureano, 29, was claimed off waivers from the A’s on Aug. 7 and hit .243 with eight doubles, one triple, three homers and 14 RBIs in 41 games with the Guards.

“He put up some really good at-bats against left-handed pitching, especially,” Antonetti said. “Has some power, plays well defensively, especially in right field, and has the ability to slide over to center, so we think he complements our roster really well.”

Cleveland’s 40-man roster is full, and all 34 remaining unsigned players were tendered contracts by Friday’s deadline.