The Guardians have signed reliever Tyler Zuber to a minor league contract with an invitation to MLB Spring Training, the team announced. The righty joins the third organization of his professional career.
Zuber’s major league time has come exclusively in the AL Central. He was a sixth-round pick of the Royals in 2017. He made Kansas City’s roster during the shortened 2020 season, appearing in 23 of their 60 games as a rookie. He pitched 31 times the following year, working 27 1/3 innings.
Between the two seasons, he pitched to a 5.29 ERA over 49 1/3 frames. Zuber fanned around a quarter of opposing hitters but didn’t show the kind of control necessary to hold an MLB spot. He walked almost 17% of batters faced. Zuber also allowed home runs at an elevated 1.82 per nine clip.
Zuber has not pitched at the MLB level since that point. He opened the 2022 season on the injured list due to an impingement in his throwing shoulder. He underwent surgery that May and missed the whole year. K.C. waived him at season’s end and he landed with the Diamondbacks when they placed a claim. Arizona ran Zuber through outright waivers themselves a couple weeks later.
The Arkansas State product stuck with the organization into 2023. He pitched in 16 games for Triple-A Reno, turning in a 5.23 ERA across 20 2/3 frames. His strikeout rate dipped to 20% while he handed out free passes at an 11.1% clip. The Snakes released him at the start of July. He spent the rest of the year in free agency but has pitched this winter in the Dominican Republic.
While injuries and command issues have sidetracked him in recent years, Zuber posted solid minor league numbers during his time in the K.C. system. He owns an impressive 3.20 ERA in parts of five minor league seasons despite last year’s middling production in Reno. Before the surgery, he worked primarily with a 94-95 MPH fastball and a mid-80s slider at the MLB level.