The Guardians predict to be a fun team this summer.
The club has shown lots of promise through June.
But at the same time, Cleveland struggled mightily in May, with a recent seven-game skid reminding fans of that pain.
That leaves Cleveland in a strange spot.
Every summer, the MLB splits into two camps: buyers and sellers.
The bottom tier of teams are usually sellers, ridding themselves of whatever talent they can that doesn’t fit their timeline to stockpile prospects.
Buyers, on the other hand, gobble up arms and bats to gear up for the team’s expectant playoff run.
Sellers generally stink; buyers are eying the World Series.
Where does that leave Cleveland, then?
The case for Cleveland is simple: this club is ahead of schedule and despite fielding a very young team, is ready to compete.
The Guardians are batting top-ten in the league (.249 team average) and José Ramirez is third in RBIs (63).
BOOK IT! 📕
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) June 28, 2022
And as recently as last week, Cleveland stood atop the AL Central, ahead of more experienced (and more expected) teams in the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins.
But as the team’s most recent run of games has shown, there are still several holes that could keep the Guardians from a deep postseason run.
So why not strike while the iron’s hot?
Two positions of note for Cleveland are starting pitcher and outfield.
Shane Bieber (3.07) is the only starting pitcher with an ERA below 3.50.
Triston McKenzie, the club’s no. 2 arm, just got shelled against the Twins, driving his ERA up to 4.03.
It would likely require significant assets.
Fortunately, Cleveland is flush with prospects, should they choose to go all in on this season.
In the outfield, Kansas City’s Andrew Benintendi looks to be one of the deadline’s biggest bats that could move.
The outfielder is slashing .299/.367/.388 this season with the Royals.
While he traditionally plays left field, he has some experience playing in center, a position Cleveland desperately could use some help at.
Further, Benintendi has 80 hits through just 71 games, embodying Cleveland’s hit-for-contact philosophy.
As it stands, the club is getting virtually nothing on offense from Myles Straw of late.
Why not sacrifice some of his defense to get a quality batter?
Should Cleveland decide not to be “all-in” buyers, it would make sense.
We knew the rap on this team heading into the season.
— David Hrusovsky Sports (@davehrus) June 22, 2022
“This is a young team.”
“Prepare for a long, rebuilding season.”
“The Tigers and Royals have more to be excited about in terms of big-name prospects.”
And while Cleveland has admirably turned that narrative on its head, the evidence behind the argument remains.
This is a club that’s built itself back up from within, pulling off shrewd trades for prospects that are finally starting to see the light of pro action.
Instead of selling off assets, keep them stockpiled and trust the development team in the farm.
After all, they’ve done an excellent job so far.
There are moves to be made involving guys that might not be long-term fits for this team.
Do the Phillies look at Myles Straw’s defense in center field and decide he’s worth biting for?
If so, what can Cleveland add to its coffers?
This is a team built to compete for the future — and we shouldn’t lose sight of that fact.
In a year, when guys like Daniel Espino are getting the call-up, then it’ll be time for Cleveland to go all in.
But for now, don’t rush a young team’s development by putting too much pressure on them.
They’re just too fun to mess with right now.