On Friday afternoon, Quantrill was traded to the Rockies in exchange for Minor League catcher Kody Huff. The 22-year-old spent the 2023 season with Colorado’s Single-A club, slashing .262/.357/.374.
The Guardians have always prioritized strong defensive catchers and it appears that Huff fits that description. He demonstrated excellent framing ability in 2023, nabbing 29 runners stealing, which was the third most among California League catchers. Huff was also named the California League Catcher of the Year by Baseball America. Huff was selected in the seventh round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Stanford University.
One of Cleveland’s biggest areas of need in its Minor League system is catching. Now that Bo Naylor has reached the Majors, the organization is lacking in catching depth. Adding Huff to the mix could help fill that need if he continues to build on his strong first full defensive season in professional baseball.
That leaves the Guardians with Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, Tanner Bibee, Gavin Williams and Logan Allen for next year’s starting rotation. There’s no question that the Guardians will be taking calls on Bieber all offseason. If his trade value wasn’t hurt too badly due to the right elbow inflammation he sustained in the second half of the regular season, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Guardians move him before Spring Training. However, the club won’t make a trade for a penny short of what it believes it deserves.
McKenzie is enjoying a regular offseason after battling shoulder and elbow injuries this year. The hope would be that he could return for a full season in 2024 with no hiccups, but the right elbow complications in the second half of the year raise some concern of his durability moving forward. The Guardians still have guys like Xzavion Curry on their active roster and prospects like Joey Cantillo who will soon reach the big leagues. But the team is now on the hunt for more starting depth before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.
“I think we’ll always be looking to add depth there,” Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “I think we do feel good about the group we have returning and some of the upper-level options in our farm system. But I do think that’s a place that we will look to add depth if possible as we move into the winter.”