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CtC Community Creates Realistic Guardians’ Offseason Plans

Let’s take a look at the Covering the Corner Community’s suggested offseason plans for the Cleveland Guardians

MLB: AUG 19 Tigers at Guardians Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week, I made a post where I suggested one potential realistic yet idealistic offseason plan for the Guardians, where I traded for Brent Rooker, signed Mark Canha (whom I assumed the Brewers would let go), traded for Jason Delay as a backup catcher and traded for Yonathan Perlaza, Triple-A outfielder for the Cubs.

There were some good criticisms of my plan (Rocchio for Rooker is too much, I agree, but they’d be buying high on Rooker), Canha is washed (the Tigers didn’t think so)... but the goal was to inspire others to present their idealistic yet realistic offseason plan for the Guardians and many of you did, so thank you! I am presenting condensed versions of those plans from our community below, with brief reactions to each and an ending summary:

Scott Brady’s Plan:

-Sign Teoscar Hernandez for 2 years/ $35M
-Sign Reynaldo Lopez for 2 years/ $18M
-Trade Joey Cantillo, Brayan Rocchio, and Myles Straw (lol) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tyler O’Neill
-Tena/ Valera/ Brito/ Johnny Rod/ etc would all be first guys up if/ when someone falters/ injury strikes on the position player side, Espino/ Hankins/ Gaddis/ Curry on the pitching side.

Reaction: It’s great to see a plan that deals with two corner outfield spots. I know some think the Kwan to centerfield ship has sailed, but I think it’s really dependent on what other moves they make. If you put O’Neill and Teoscar in the middle of the Guardians order, that helps a lot.

Clebaseballers32’s plan:

Vet OF: Santander
Revamp CF: Wiemer
RP: Lopez
Cantillo + Gaddis for Santander
Rocchio for Wiemer

Reaction: Again, you’ve dealt with two outfield spots, and I appreciate that. I think Cantillo for Santander, alone, is steep, though, considering you get only one year of Santander. I’d want more from Baltimore, there.

Columbus2Cville’s Plan:

SP Joey Cantillo and SP Tanner Burns for RF Anthony Santander
Signing 1:
Michael A. Taylor (2 yr/$20 Million)
Signing 2:
Reynaldo Lopez (3 yr/$27 million)
Signing 3:
CJ Cron (1 yr/$12 million)
Assumptions: Manzardo and Valera each need at least half a year in AAA (can dump Cron and Santander at deadline if they’re having a great season); Bieber is on the block at the deadline depending on team performance.

Reaction: Everyone wants Reynaldo! Unfortunately, it’s giving me the same sinking feeling I had prior to the 2023 season when every Guardians’ fan on Twitter was predicting Cleveland to win the world series. I appreciate that C2C has realized that Manzardo MAY not quite be ready so Cron can help fill in at 1B/DH in the meantime. I think the price for Taylor, however, is more than I’d want to pay, but he’s pretty clearly going to be an upgrade over Straw. Same comments on Cantillo for Santander as above apply, here.

Robbymcd’s Plan:

Stand pat is my lowly plan. Get a RH bat for RF/1B in FA on a short term deal like Adam Duvall and use our hitter’s platoon strengths to the max. The results we’d get from a Valera/J Rod duo would be kissing close to whoever we might come up with knowing the budget parameters we work with. (In other words: Manzardo/Noel = or + than J Bell.). And Valera’s value and projections are moving up, the older guy’s always down.
Do not toss away any more or our young position players since we keep gambling away the wrong ones. In our most successful decade, the 90’s, we hung tenaciously to our young. It was only later in our mad scramble to get a WS ring that we forgot that lesson. Nobody is hungrier for this than me but slow and steady wins our kind of race.

Reaction: Haha, Robby’s always got a lot to say! I was honestly SHOCKED to see him advocate for standing pat, but he’s not the only one who took that position. I think he’s on to something in saying they still need to add at least someone with some right-handed power. Duvall would not be my top choice, however.

jeffguards’ plan:

Trade RP Emmanuel Clase to Texas for OF Leody Taveras, RP Josh Sborz, SP/RP Dane Dunning and C Sam Huff
Trade SP Shane Bieber and RP Trevor Stephan to St. Louis for OF Tyler O’Neill, RP Andre Pallante, SP Michael McGreevy, OF Moises Gomez
Trade IF Juan Brito, OF George Valera, SP Joey Cantillo, IF Gabriel Rodriguez, IF/OF Jhonkensy Noel to Colorado for OF Yanquiel Fernandez, SP Jordy Vargas, SP Carson Palmquist (to clear the 40-man for the other acquisitions)
non-tender Karinchak, Gallagher, Laureano
free agent: Sign IF/OF Rhys Hoskins to 1-year, $15 million deal w/ mutual option

Reaction: Jeff gave us some REAL interesting trades to ponder, a TON of moving parts. I think Texas would turn that deal down probably? Mainly because Taveras is a great centerfielder to have. Maybe Taveras for Clase is a fair deal, but I’m not really in a place where I want them to do that. I think he’s given the Guardians too much for Bieber from the Cardinals but maybe there is a fit around Bieber and O’Neill plus. I’m gonna be honest - I HATE The Colorado deal. We’ve swapped good prospects for bad prospects. But, if the Guardians sign Hoskins, I’d be all for it. The problem is that he is simply not playable in the outfield, so I doubt they will do it, and I also think Hoskins will have no trouble getting a 3-4 year deal.

keenej’s plan:

Trade RHP Shane Bieber to Baltimore for OF Anthony Santander & Carter Baulmer
Trade OF Myles Straw & IF Tyler Freeman to the New York Mets for a Bag of Balls
Sign Kevin Kiermaier to a 2 year, $16M Contract
Sign Reynaldo Lopez to 3 year, $30M Contract
Sign Tyler Mahle to a 1 year, $10M Contract with Incentives
Extend Logan Allen, Tanner Bibee & Gavin Williams

Reaction: Some realistic ideas from keenej and I like that he wants to add a starting pitcher, something I really hope Cleveland will do. However, Mahle won’t help until midseason at best. I think Bieber for Santander is an idea with legs and the additional piece coming back makes sense. I don’t really want Kiermaier but if you can unload Straw, it’s reasonable. I like the idea of trying to extend Bibee, especially, because I do think he’s going to lose a year of control by finishing 2nd in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

YetiMan22’s plan:

Trade #1 (3 team)
Cle Receives Tyler O’Neill
Oak receives Tena, OGon, Hankins
STL receives Paul Blackburn
Trade #2
Cle receives Mike Yastrzemski + Taylor Rogers
SFG receives Bryan Rocchio + Myles Straw
Tender all our guys expect Gallagher
Free Agency
Sign Gary Sanchez as C2 / RH PH to 2/16MM
40Man Decisions
Add Espino, Cade Smith, JRod, Lavastida

Reaction: I like the idea of three team trade landing Cleveland Tyler O’Neill and not giving up a Cleveland pitcher a LOT. And, rumors are that Oakland is willing to trade blackburn. I like the thinking with the Yaz and Rogers trade, but I suspect San Francisco would want another significant piece, especially if they are taking Straw. Yastrzemski can play an above-average centerfield, so sign me up for that. I do think the Giants might be interested in one of our middle-infield prospects, but this deal relies on them really thinking Rocchio is the real deal.

HighlandH’s plan:

Kwan to CF. Obtain any quality bat - Santander?
Gimenez to SS. Freeman to 2b - he can hit.
Resign Lopez..
Assume Manzardo plays Combo with Naylor.
Obtain a backup catcher who can hit .220.
Get the best deal for Rocchio. Perhaps start at CBus.
Keep Bieber for possible mid season trade.

Reaction: I like a Tyler Freeman truther! I don’t know that the Guardians will move Kwan to centerfield unless they acquire someone who has to play left, or they acquire two new starting outfielders. But, again, Santander is a reasonable target.

DelGua’s Reaction:

Mostly stand pat.
I’d still go after CF/RF Joey Wiemer. Brewers need SP and have OF depth with no1 prospect Chourio starting in AAA.
Baltimore another obvious match (I’d try for Mayo, and maybe settle for Cowser/Kjerstad+).

Reaction: DelGua always has some great insights on prospects (and all players). If the Brewers trade Wiemer, I hope the Guardians are in on it. There are a lot of questions still about his hit tool, but he appears to be a very good centerfielder with a lot of slugging upside. And, Coby Mayo is also my favorite of the Orioles’ assembly line of young sluggers. I guess it’s fair to wonder if Mayo and Wiemer help the team enough in 2024, but I don’t think acquiring either or both would be an unpopular move in any case.

Cerrano13’s Plan:

I strongly advocate for signing Hernandez on a two year deal and finding a platoon partner for Laureano in the other spot. This ain’t the 90s and there are very limited options for right handed power these days. Move Kwan to center. Brennan can be Triple-A depth, where hopefully he can learn how to be more selective with some coaching.

Reaction: I like Cerrano’s idea that the Guardians could actually pursue a left-handed hitter to platoon with Laureano. Perhaps Joc Pederson becomes an option again in this case?

abmickey’s plan:

I only NEED one move = NewGuy corner OF who can bat 4th (Ward, Hernandez, Santander, etc):

Reaction: This was a fairly common theme. If we get one corner outfielder who can hit in the middle of the order, the offseason will be at least tolerable. Taylor Ward is my favorite target, but I do always remember that the Angels are not a sane organization.

mcrose’s plan:

So, Kwan to CF, trade for Santander as proven corner OF, remaining corner OF to be fought over from within (Brennan, OGon, JRod, Valera).
One solid backend reliever acquisition, and done. Pray for McK and Beebz to be healthy.

Reaction: A simple offseason plan from mcrose who does not specify Reynaldo Lopez!!! Shocking! There are a variety of interesting bullpen arms available this offseason, as well as more who will become available soon, so I imagine the Guardians will make 1-2 additions there. They just may be more Enyel De Los Santos-type signings than Reynaldo Lopez-type signings.

vlad1m1r’s plan:

1.) Trade Bieber for Santander + a prospect
2.) Sign a SP on a pillow contract, I think Mahle is out until at least mid-summer so not him, but maybe Frankie Montas
3.) DFA Myles Straw, move Kwan to CF
4.) Sign one reliever, probably Reynaldo
5.) I don’t really see much opportunity to beef up the offense with free agents, even if they had 50 million to spend. Teoscar and others scare me, that they will underperform and be stuck. I’d be fine with Rodriguez and Valera fighting it out for RF, with Santander and Kwan in LF and CF, and Laureano on the bench/platoon. Since they could pretty easily add a 25 million player, Cleveland should lean into their strength, and in addition to a Montas type signing, going after someone who’s been actually good like Sonny Gray. The alternative is keep Bieber, sign a Teoscar, which is an okay strategy.

Reaction: I love that vlad1m1r wants to acquire possibly two pitchers. You truly cannot have enough pitching. I want to note that if Cleveland wants to depart from their m.o. and give Sonny Gray like a 3/$54M deal, I am all for it.

I have not included pezzicle's offseason plan only because he was kind enough to share it here! Pezz is a great guy to read for all things roster-related!

General Thoughts: Man, a lot of us are really sold on Reynaldo Lopez, and I get it. I do think we are more likely to see something like Jacob Junis, Kenyan Middleton, Dylan Floro or a return engagement with Phil Maton. Anthony Santander, Teoscar Hernandez, Taylor Ward and Tyler O’Neill are the most commonly mentioned targets to help fix the outfield, but some creative folks are trying to swing a deal for Joey Wiemar, and I like the ambition.

I think a perfect offseason would add a starting pitcher to the rotation, an 8th inning reliever, a true centerfielder who can hit 100 wRC+, and a corner outfield bat who can bat in the middle of the lineup. In reality, I think we may see a couple good/interesting relief arms and one bat for the outfield and the middle-of-the-lineup. Even that amount of offseason spending will make me optimistic (probaby unreasonably so) about the team’s chances. Now, time to see if Dolan, Blitzer, Antonetti and Chernoff can exceed the scope of our ambitions!