Here come the White Sox.
Guardians fans knew it was coming.
With one of the easiest schedules left, the White Sox only had to marginally improve to find themselves back in the playoff picture.
And here they are, just three games out of first and half a game behind the Guardians for second.
It’s scary times, indeed for the Guards.
It also underscores a real question for the Guardians: to buy or sell.
Or more likely: to buy or not participate.
The Guardians should not and will not be sellers at the deadline.
But whether they should bring in help this season is a bit of a mystery and one that the front office is certainly managing.
If they do decide to check out the market, here are two bullpen arms that might make a difference:
1. Mychal Givens
Once upon a time, the Guardians’ bullpen looked like a real strength.
Enter Mychal Givens.
Let’s start with the obvious downside: Givens will be a free agent this winter.
But he’s on a team that is looking to part with several bigger-name pieces, including catcher Wilson Contreras and outfielder Ian Happ.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) July 27, 2022
I’m not saying the Cubbies would take anything less than Givens’ is worth, but it’s also not like Givens is a team’s only prized piece heading into the deadline, which could superficially drive up the price.
This season, Givens has a 2.72 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 39.1 innings.
He’s also posting recent-career bests in WHIP (1.262) and Ks/BB (2.58).
Givens would be an excellent bridge option from the starter to closer Clase.
Over the last month, Givens hasn’t given up a single earned run.
That to say he would be right at home in Cleveland next to Clase, who went on a similar run back in June.
2. Matt Moore
In Moore, the Guardians are getting yet another short-term rental.
Ideally, the team would bring in someone with some team control.
But given how crucial bullpen arms are, even rebuilding teams usually like to hang on to good bullpen arms.
And contracts can be negotiated in the future, it’s not a done-deal that a “short-term rental” doesn’t return.
And Moore is certainly one worth taking a look at.
But if Givens has had a good 2022 season, Moore’s had an excellent one.
His 1.74 ERA is a career-best, as is his K/9 innings (10).
With a WHIP of 1.200, Moore is the perfect kind of rental the Guardians should go after.
Those career-best figures highlight another feature of the rental market.
Steven Kwan hit a single1⃣ off of a 92.8 mph sinker from Josh Winckowski, and now has a 9 game hit streak.
Exit Velocity: 85.0 mph
Launch Angle: 2.0 degrees👇
Kwan is batting .361 over this stretch.👀
— DiMaggio Tracker (@DiMaggioTracker) July 26, 2022
Teams don’t necessarily need to hang on to a player after their “career year.”
All a team needs is to harness that success for their own, considering a player likely won’t have another “career year” again.
If the Guardians could somehow manage to bring in Moore, their bullpen would see some much-needed relief.
Pun very much intended.