Cleveland Guardians designate Ernie Clement for assignment, welcome Will Brennan to The Show

Cleveland Guardians' Ernie Clement plays during a baseball game, Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in...
Cleveland Guardians' Ernie Clement plays during a baseball game, Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)(Carlos Osorio | AP)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:54 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Guardians are still standing over halfway through September, but that isn’t keeping the team from shaking up the roster.

The Guardians activated RHP Aaron Civale from the injured list and optioned RHP Carlos Vargas to the AAA Columbus Clippers on Sept. 20.

But a slew of roster moves came 24 hours later.

Utility player Ernie Clement was designated for assignment just five days after scoring the game-winning run from second base on a wild pitch in the 8th inning against the Twins.

The 26-year-old infielder was first added to Cleveland’s 40-man roster in Nov. 2020 and made his major-league debut in June 2021.

Clement singlehandedly changed the stigma of being a utility player in Major League Baseball with his solid glove and profound versatility around the in and outfield.

You mainly saw him start as a fill-in at third base or left field, but he’s made appearances at second, shortstop, and as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner.

His strongest suit was arguably holding it down at third for José Ramírez, which his 15 starts there show.

The 26-year-old Rochester native even became a relief pitcher in two games - one of which he was also listed as a backup catcher.

“Big Ern” stepped up whenever his team called on him, “whatever they need, I’m gonna go out and try to do my best... catching, pitching, picking Joséy up, whatever... I’ll do it,” Clement told Knott in his post-game interview after taking the mound for the first time in his career.

[ Utility player to pitcher: Ernie Clement takes the mound for the Guardians ]

He’s the guy his team could count on when it came to defense, but his time at the plate hasn’t exactly been as highlight-worthy... and it’s what influenced Terry Francona’s decision.

He was sent down to Columbus on Aug. 3 in place of Tyler Freeman, but called back up as the 28th man on the roster on Sept. 1.

[ Guardians promote Tyler Freeman as Ernie Clement goes to Clippers ]

With 145 at-bats in the 2022 season, Clement tallied a .200 AVG with 18 runs and 6 RBI - and only two of those plate appearances were in September.

This was a downward slide from his stats last season when he had a total of just 121 bats, but earned a .231 AVG, 16 runs, nine RBI, and three home runs (the first two being in the same game).

Tito sent Clement down to Columbus both years in hopes more time at the plate would improve his game, and ended up hitting .238 AVG with 13 runs and 17 RBI in 21 games, including four home runs (which were his only of the season).

Overall, his career battling line is 45% below league average in 104 MLB games.

At one point in his collegiate career at the University of Virginia (where he became a College World Series champion his freshman year), he was statistically the most difficult player to strike out in the NCAA.

He had the confidence to back it too, saying his favorite was a 3-2 count because it puts the pressure on the pitcher.

This did carry over in this MLB career thus far with an average of 14.9% strikeouts, which is far under the league average of 22.3%.

However, the Guardians called up RF Will Brennan to take Clement’s spot on the roster and make his debut in The Show.

The 24-year-old No. 20 prospect was Cleveland’s 2019 8th-round pick out of Kansas State University.

Brennan’s first start came on Sept. 21, the same day his contract was selected from Columbus.

He got the call at 1 a.m. and went straight to Chicago to meet the Guardians at the White Sox stadium.

In his second plate appearance, he recorded his first big league hit and RBI with his mom, dad, and grandparents looking on in the stands.

This helped the Guardians advance their lead to 4-0 before ultimately winning the match 8-2.

A couple of other moves were made on the last day of summer for the Guardians.

INF Gabriel Arias was recalled from Columbus, and OF Richie Palacios was sent down to take his place.

Arias, 22, has had more birthdays than appearances at the plate for 2022.

He had 19 AB in six games, his last being on July 4 for the majors, with a .105 AVG from two runs and one RBI.

Palacios, 25, has accumulated a .232 AVG with seven runs and 10 RBI over 112 AB.

In his last start in LF on Sept. 18, Palacios made this highlight-worthy play with a catch in left and throw to the plate in time for Austin Hedges to tag out Luis Arraez.