At the trade deadline, the Guardians faced a choice.
Do they go all in with this young core, mashing the “buy buy buy” button and cashing in their young studs for proven vets?
Or do they continue evaluating their young talent and loaded farm system in preparation to compete for years to come?
Ultimately, the Guardians chose option number two.
And so far, it’s worked out.
The youngsters are proving their might with guys like Andrés Giménez, Josh Naylor, Amed Rosario, Steven Kwan, and Oscar Gonzalez all a huge reason why the Guardians stand atop the AL Central.
But eventually, the team will need to upgrade in a few key areas.
Not so fast.
No Avalance This Winter
The thinking at the trade deadline went like this.
Why should the Guardians buy now when most of their targets would still be available come the winter?
Plus, the team could take advantage of free agency, using whatever money it has then rather than now.
GOT 'EM. #ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/xKYGzHnq6X
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) August 13, 2022
But the Guardians aren’t necessarily expected to be major players this winter, either.
According to Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com, the offseason might be just as quiet as the trade deadline:
“They could use some power for sure. But as we saw last offseason and at the trade deadline a few weeks ago, they’re not going to do anything to get in the way of their young players. They might already have the power they’re looking in Oscar Gonzalez, Nolan Jones or Will Benson.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a wild spree of additions and subtractions this winter.”
How likely is it that Benson, Gonzalez, or Jones could be that power hitter for the Guardians?
Jones showed some big-league pop in his 26 games in the majors this season, but his 21 hits against just two homers projects to be more of the hit-for-contact prototype we’ve seen this season.
Ditto for Andrés Giménez, whose 12 homers and .482 slugging are admirable, but not yet the caliber of a pro-power bat.
For the record, that’s not a knock against Giménez — he’s in the midst of a breakout All-Star season.
Benson, on the other hand, went for 22 homers in back-to-back seasons in the minors a few campaigns ago.
In 89 games with AAA Columbus this season, Benson’s managed 17 long balls.
Of anyone currently on the Guardians, only José Ramirez is slugging higher than .500 (.545).
It’s a testament to the lack of power on the roster.
One position the Guardians need the most help at is catcher.
But once again, don’t expect the Guardians to look externally for options to replace Austin Hedges:
“I think Hedges or Luke Maile would be a great tutor for Naylor. The Guardians think Naylor is ready for the big leagues defensively, and he’s been putting his offensive game together this year with a strong showing at Class AA Akron and Class AAA Columbus.”
At some point, the Guardians will have to make some sort of move.
Tired of nobody nationally pushing the Kwan/Rookie of Year narrative.
Let's change that, @MLB. Dude is legit.#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/0K9flMwRwu
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) August 12, 2022
The farm is loaded with talent but has few spots in the majors to fit everyone.
Perhaps that means offloading youngsters for other youngsters or cash.
But either way, too much young talent isn’t a bad problem to have.
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