Guardians get RHP Castro in deal for Zimmer

April 8th, 2022

KANSAS CITY -- Opening Day may have already come, but the Guardians are still making tweaks to their roster.

The team announced after Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the Royals that it acquired righty Anthony Castro from the Blue Jays for outfielder Bradley Zimmer.

Not only does Cleveland need more relief help, but it was also on the brink of facing a major decision in the outfield of whether it could keep Steven Kwan when Josh Naylor finishes his rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus (which could be as soon as April 14). That decision would’ve likely come down to Kwan or Zimmer, and it appears as though the club has made its choice.

Zimmer gave the club a handful of reasons to be optimistic in his rookie season in 2017, but once injuries got in the way, the optimism began to fade. In 99 games in '21, Zimmer hit .227 with a .669 OPS, and in Spring Training this year, he racked up 16 strikeouts in 32 at-bats. With the way Kwan has proven his exceptional bat-to-ball skills and plate discipline (which he already backed up with two walks and a single in his Major League debut), it was time to pass the baton to the younger generation.

The Guardians will be getting another much-needed relief option in Castro. Although he opened the 2022 season on Triple-A Buffalo’s roster, he’ll be with Cleveland’s big league squad on Saturday in Kansas City. He made 25 appearances in his rookie season in ’21, owning a 4.74 ERA with 32 strikeouts and eight walks in 24 2/3 frames.

Castro relied heavily on his four-seamer (51.4 percent of the time) and slider (47.3 percent of the time) last year, though his slider got most of the attention, holding hitters to a .208 average, while posting a 41.9 percent whiff percentage.