It was a rough day at the office for the Cleveland Guardians on Saturday.
Let’s just say, the Fourth of July fireworks came a little early to Progressive Field.
The New York Yankees took both ends of a doubleheader, winning by a combined score of 19-5.
A fourteen-run hole is not the right way to start a new month, nor a new series that could be crucial to forecasting how far the Guardians could go in the playoffs.
But Saturday was more a reminder that the playoffs are far from guaranteed, let alone any “October runs.”
In the morning game, seven out of the ten Yankees batters recorded at least one RBI, en route to a 13-4 shellacking.
In the afternoon, just over half of the Yankees batters recorded an RBI, in a game that saw Guardians pitcher Aaron Civale cough up four earned runs.
Though four runs are pedestrian by Civale’s standards.
Which brings us to a major question: if they are indeed deadline buyers, who can the Guardians bring in to bolster the starting pitching rotation?
Here are two possibilities:
Both of those players are two of the most hotly bandied about names ahead of the trade deadline.
This means that the Guardians would face stiff competition for both.
But Montas and Castillo aren’t quite what the Guardians need.
Don’t get me wrong, plenty of fans might want their services, but let another team overpay for each.
Since Castillo and Montas are the top two pitching names available, the Reds and A’s (respectively) will get a nice haul in return.
And teams targeting those two are likely further along in their development that the Guardians.
Cleveland’s had an excellent season, but they need either a) young talent or b) low-cost options at this point.
Enter German Marquez.
Marquez is just 27 and if you haven’t heard his name thrown around trade discussions, it’s because, well, he’s having a rough season.
He’s getting shelled regularly, to the tune of a 5.89 ERA.
The Twins got one hit against German Marquez through five innings.
I don’t know how to explain that.
— Peter Appel (@peterappel23) June 25, 2022
But Marquez’s career ERA is a much more palatable 4.43 ERA.
And over his last few starts, Marquez looks to have quietly turned a corner: in his last five starts, Marquez has a 4.34 ERA and is holding batters to just a .243 average.
Let’s also not forget that last year, Marquez was Colorado’s lone All-Star and that he’s flirted with ascending to the pitching mountaintop on several occasions.
Could the Guardians buy low on Marquez and rely on their excellent development team to help Marquez regain his old form?
By next year, he could be one of several strong (and experienced) arms that Cleveland can send to the mound.
If Marquez is the “cost-effective” option, then Bello could be Cleveland’s “youthful” option.
The 23-year-old Bello is currently in the Red Sox system.
Here’s Bello’s write-up from MLB.com:
“Bello has three quality pitches, throws enough strikes and generates plenty of swings and misses as well as weak groundball contact. He has the potential to pitch in the front half of a big league rotation, and to get there he’ll have to refine his command and show that his fastball will work well against more advanced hitters. If not, he still has a high floor as a multiple-inning reliever.”
Bello could be exactly the sort of talented young player Cleveland wants moving forward.
Brayan Bello yesterday:
— BallPark Buzz (@BallParkBuzz) July 2, 2022
To land Bello, the Guardians would have to be “sellers” and probably include one of the strong bullpen arms, which the Red Sox desperately need more of.
But Bello might be worth it, if he can develop into a quality starter, setting up the Guardians to contend for seasons to come.