Based on the series of roster moves announced Monday night, Indians fans had to expect a few corresponding moves coming later this week. This is just one of those moves: Since he wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster or last all season, the Tribe has returned 1B Chris McGuiness to the Texas Rangers.
“I’ve said it before, I wish he wasn’t a Rule 5,” Indians manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday. “It’s hard for a position player to skip Triple-A and come to the big leagues. It’s not altogether fair to expect them to be able to put up numbers. There’s so much to like about him.”
Cleveland spent $50,000 to select the 24-year-old McGuiness in the Rule 5 Draft. Players added in that manner must remain on the acquiring team’s 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the original club at half the cost. It became clear this spring that McGuiness — with no career at-bats above Double-A — was not going to make the Indians’ roster.
McGuiness will turn 25 years old in two weeks. A 13th-round selection in the 2009 Draft by the Boston Red Sox, he was traded to Texas the next year at the trade deadline in a deal for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
In 123 games for Double-A Frisco in 2012, he batted .268/.366/.474 with 25 doubles, 23 home runs and 77 RBI. That home run total would have led all minor leaguers in the Indians organization, out-pacing Russ Canzler (22) and a handful of others. He then was named the Arizona Fall League MVP this offseason.
MLB.com had McGuiness ranked as the No. 14 prospect in the Indians organization. He certainly would have provided a much needed boost in the power department as well as added competition at Triple-A Columbus. It appears that the Indians were unable to reach an agreement with Texas for him to remain in Cleveland.
With this move, the Indians’ 40-man roster currently stands at 39. The final spot is expected to be IF/OF Ryan Raburn, who will be officially added by Opening Day.
Going back to the Rule 5 Draft, the Indians lost RHP Hector Rondon to the Chicago Cubs and LHP T.J. McFarland to the Baltimore Orioles. Rondon, plagued since 2010 by injuries, has made the Cubs’ 25-man roster and appears to have a long-term role as a middle reliever. Per the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are still deciding on McFarland’s future.
[Related: Roster Is Set, Any Concerns?]