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Covering the Corner Roundtable -Offseason Edition

Name subject to change

Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

We’re going to try something new this week. I initially wanted to call this “The Corner Roundtable” but I immediately got stuck on the thought “how could a round table be in the corner” and decided against it. Please feel free to comment with name suggestions for this format that we will certainly be using more often.

Once a month I will be asking 5 questions about the Guardians to our writers, compiling them all into this roundtable style article as a way to get a broader range of perspectives on some of the most common discussion topics about the Guardians in a given moment. A

This months questions are:

  • What should be the biggest roster priority for the Guardians this offseason?
  • Who is your favorite potential replacement for Tito?
  • What offseason storyline will you be most closely following?
  • What team are you pulling for the rest of the way.

Given that we’re in the first week of the offseason, in lieu of a 5th question I asked them for some team superlatives. The categories are

  • Team MVP
  • Biggest disappointment
  • Pleasant Surprise
  • The “Austin Hedges Award” for the player with the most immaculate vibes
  • Breakout candidate for 2024

So without further ado, let’s go ahead and kick off the first roundtable of the offseason

What should be the biggest roster priority for the Guardians this offseason?

Zach: A proven outfield bat.

Brendan: The biggest roster priority has to be the outfield for me. There are two big question marks in our outfield, and there is no solidified answer to them besides maybe George Valera. We’re gonna have to trade some assets for a proven OF bat or test an already scarce free agent OF market.

Brian: We need to find some stop-gap outfielders. I think George Valera and Chase DeLauter are the long term solutions to pair with Steven Kwan, but they both may need some seasoning yet. Sign someone on a one-year deal who can fill the void while they develop.

Quincy: Finding a middle of the order hitter who can play outfield and hits lefties well.

Matt Seese: It’s paramount that this team gets an outfield bat that can play everyday and you don’t need to worry about them. Straw, Brennan…these aren’t guys who can get it done in everyday roles, and Kwan is fantastic, but there needs to be some thump from at least one other position out there. I think an underrated area of priority is the bullpen. It’s less of a “we don’t have anyone” need and more of a shift in mindset from that area. There’s a severe lack of strikeout capability from the bullpen, and it served as arguably the biggest reason for the unit’s regression.

Eli: This offseason we absolutely have to extend Josh Naylor. His offense, defense, and bench presence are simply invaluable to the team.

Madelynn: I’m sure everyone has already said this, but the Guardians are in dire need of a power hitter. While someone like Juan Soto may be too steep of an ask, a big name hitter would bring an offensive boost to this otherwise quiet team. It’s okay to spend more money when it’s helping the team win.

Who is your favorite potential replacement for Tito?

Zach: Will Venable

Brendan: Well, the ideal guy would be Kevin Cash for me, but that is extremely unrealistic. For a more realistic and available option, I’ve grown more and more fond of bringing the party back to Cleveland and giving Mike Napoli the reigns as the club’s skipper.

Brian: I’m all aboard the Mike Napoli train. I think he’s very Francona-esque with the clubhouse factor, he’s already beloved by the fan base and he was one of the smartest base runners I’ve ever seen despite how slow he was. I’d love to see him teach every player on the team how to pick up when a ball was going to be thrown in the dirt early and take off for a delayed steal.

Quincy: Lots of great names out there but my favorites are Will Venable and Rodney Linares

Matt Seese: A bit more off the wall, but my favorite name is Matt Blake. Blake did just sign a new three-year deal with the Yankees as their pitching coach last season, but he has ties back to Cleveland and was a huge piece of the Guardians becoming the pitching lab it has. He’s terrific in that area, namely when it comes to the bullpen, and I think a younger, analytically driven mind would be ideal at manager right now.

Eli: I have always really liked Mike Sarbaugh. I’m not sure I can even really articulate why, and I don’t know if it’s best for us to hire internally instead of looking at outside options, but if we do go the internal route I would love to see Sarbaugh get a chance at the helm.

Madelynn: This one may not be a popular pick, but I think that Gabe Kapler would be a good replacement. It would be nice to have someone younger leading this extremely young team, and Kapler has shown he can do it successfully. Fresh off of being let go by the Giants, we know he is available to be signed.

What offseason storyline will you follow most closely:

Zach: The obvious one is the manager search, but I think I’m more interested to see if they chase any of the big fish like Juan Soto or Mike Trout.

Brendan: The offseason storyline I will closely follow is the front office’s handling of the organization’s middle infield situation. There are so many paths to take, and I believe any path would result in success in the field and at the plate.

Brian: Main one is finding how who the next manager will be, by a landslide. I’d also like to see the team sign some more core players to extensions.

Quincy: Hard to argue that it isn’t the managerial search, but I’ll say seeing who is the organization’s choice to be the starting shortstop for 2024

Matt Seese: Within the organization, it’s who starts at shortstop next season. The battle between Arias and Rocchio is going to be fascinating now that there’s no one in front of them blocking one or the other from a roster spot. Outside of the org, it’s Shohei. The biggest free agent in sports history kind of has my attention a little bit.

Eli: Where Is Shohei going? Maybe his buddy Jose Ramirez whom he loves the idea of playing with can convince him to sign a cheaper deal here while he rehabs his arm. Obviously that’s not likely, but I can dream about it for now.

Madelynn: We have a very exciting free agency season ahead of us, and it will be interesting to see where all of the big names and even the less-popular guys sign. It will certainly be exciting to see where superstar Shohei Ohtani signs, but I’m also looking forward to seeing if the Guardians can pick up any sleeper candidates such as Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Which team are you pulling for the rest of the way (note, the questions were asked on Wednesday, so some teams have since been eliminated)

Zach: Definitely Baltimore

Brendan: As a person who’s closely watched Baltimore’s farm system over the last couple years, I can’t help but to back the Orioles. I’ve always believed in them. They’ve got an exciting, star-studded group of young players that will likely keep a firm grip on the AL East for at least 4 or 5 more years (probably longer).

Brian: Tampa Bay

Quincy: Carlos Santana’s Milwaukee Brewers and, in second place, the Phightin’ Phils

Matt Seese: The Dodgers. I am a diehard Kershaw fan, and as a kid, when I got to stay up late, I was always watching Dodgers games. Mookie and Freddie are two of my favorite players in the sport as well, so the fit is natural.

Eli: I’d like to see the Orioles and the Diamondbacks go deep into the postseason. I’m not sure if the Orioles have the pitching depth to do that but it’s nice to have some teams in the mix this year who haven’t necessarily been recent powerhouses.

Madelynn: I’m torn between the Baltimore Orioles and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both are young, exciting teams with fantastic storylines behind them. I certainly wouldn’t be mad if either team won, but I’m leaning a bit more towards Arizona.

Team MVP:

Zach: José Ramirez

Brendan: Tanner Bibee

Brian: Josh Naylor

Quincy: José Ramirez

Matt Seese: Tanner Bibee

Eli: Josh Naylor

Madelynn: José Ramirez

Biggest disappointment:

Zach: Will Brennan

Brendan: Oscar Gonzalez

Brian: Oscar Gonzalez

Quincy: Oscar Gonzalez

Matt Seese: N/A

Eli: Trevor Stephan

Madelynn: Myles Straw

Pleasant Surprise:

Zach: David Fry

Brendan: Josh Naylor

Brian: Tanner Bibee

Quincy: David Fry

Matt Seese: David Fry

Eli: Tanner Bibee

Madelynn: Tanner Bibee

The “Austin Hedges” award for the player with the most immaculate vibes:

Zach: The only award he could ever win, Cam Gallagher.

Brendan: Kole Calhoun (who else?)

Brian: Kole Calhoun

Quincy: Xzavion Curry

Matt Seese: Josh Naylor

Eli: Kole Calhoun

Madelynn: Will Brennan

Breakout candidate for 2024:

Zach: Gavin Williams

Brendan: Bo Naylor

Brian: Kyle Manzardo

Quincy: Tyler Freeman

Matt Seese: Gavin Williams

Eli: Bo Naylor (we’ve only just started to see how good he’s going to be)

Madelynn: Bo Naylor

Join the discussion in the comments below! We’d love to hear your answers to each question. If you’re interested, feel free to copy and paste the list below to fill in your own answers.

What should be the biggest roster priority for the Guardians this offseason?

Who is your favorite potential replacement for Tito?

What offseason storyline will you be most closely following?

What team are you pulling for the rest of the way?



Biggest disappointment:

Pleasant Surprise:

The Austin Hedges Award:

Breakout Candidate for 2024: