Should the Cleveland Guardians Be Buyers Or Sellers at MLB Deadline?
After two months, the Cleveland Guardians are right around where most fans thought they would be. At 27-26, the Guardians are just three games back of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central standings and only half a game out of a Wild Card spot.
By all accounts, the Guardians are fighting for a playoff spot. But that’s no guarantee the team will be going on a major shopping spree closer to the trade deadline.
Let’s assess the Guardians 2022 campaign to see whether buying or selling makes more sense both now and in the long run.
Reasons to Buy
Many of the reasons the Guardians have for buying have to do with their record.
The AL Central is admittedly a weak division. But nevertheless, it’s encouraging to see Cleveland this close to first place with Father’s Day right around the corner. Especially after a seven-game losing streak near the end of April dropped the Guardians to a season-worst five games below .500.
Cleveland could use an additional bat for a lineup that ranks 16th in runs scored. Jose Ramirez has carried the offense, leading the way with a .284/.388/.619 slash, 15 homers, and 55 RBI. While players like Andres Gimenez and Josh Naylor have outperformed expectations, adding a more proven bat to support J-Ram seems necessary.
The Guardians would also be sending a positive message to the fanbase by going out and buying at the trade deadline. Far too often, Cleveland fans have to watch their team penny-pinch its way to a winning record. But it might be nice for the Guardians to actually acquire the veterans instead of trading them away for a change.
Reasons to Sell
Just because the Guardians are in the playoff mix doesn’t mean the World Series is a realistic goal.
Typically, a midseason buyer is looking for the missing piece required to make a deep postseason run. Sometimes it’s as small as an extra reliever or two, while sometimes it’s going all-in on a superstar. Unless the Guardians can land an All-Star-caliber player, they have to wonder if adding a smaller piece is enough to make them contend.
There’s also the issue of renting a player in the final year of his deal. Many big market teams are able to part with top prospects because they know they have the funds to re-sign their newest star in free agency after the season. Meanwhile, any such player Cleveland acquires is essentially a lock to play elsewhere in 2023.
While Ramirez and Shane Bieber are presumably off the table, the Guardians have some trade pieces for other teams if things start to go south.
Shortstop Amed Rosario is Cleveland’s third-highest paid player and could provide some value for teams in search of infield help. Franmil Reyes could also be on the move if another club wants some more power.
Should the Guardians Buy or Sell At MLB Deadline?
The Guardians benefit from a weak division but nevertheless are firmly in the mix for October baseball. Therefore, it makes little sense to sell if they remain at this current pace.
That said, Cleveland has eight games against the first-place Minnesota Twins at the end of June. Depending on how those contests shake out, the Guardians could be leading the AL Central all by themselves or pushed down the standings. Their final 15 games before the All-Star break are all against divisional foes, as well.
It’s too early to definitively say what the Guardians need to do. But unless things go off the rails over the next month, Cleveland should be looking to add, not subtract, at the trade deadline.
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