We have entered July and the Guardians will be evaluating their organization to determine if they can make any trades to improve their roster in 2023 and beyond or if the needed pieces to make a run at ending their 75-year title drought are on hand. What better way to evaluate the current roster than to use Taylor Swift song titles to categorize the players on the Team’s 40-man roster in relation to the trade deadline?
He wanted to stay, he is staying, and we should all thank our lucky stars.
Wrist soreness aside, Josh Naylor has been the one other consistent offensive threat outside Ramírez and has played a solid first base.
Everyone can see the potential and it’s exciting to imagine him getting a chance to experience the majors for the rest of the season.
See above. Tanner Bibee and Williams are the most exciting pitching prospects to hit Cleveland since Bartolo Colón as far as prospect hype goes. Let’s keep them both around for a while!
“You Belong With Me”
He’s extended and despite a rough first couple of months offensively, that still seems like a great decision. Hopefully, he can be closer to a 120 wRC+ hitter for the rest of the season.
He’s getting used a lot again and had some struggles, but he’s still a top-5 reliever in baseball extended to be that here in Cleveland.
Obviously, if someone is offering the right value, you’d trade Trevor Stephan. But, some recent hiccups don’t move me as far as his overall value. He’s learning to be Tito’s new Bryan Shaw in terms of pitching almost every day and getting the job done more often than not. I expect his stuff to tick up in the second half.
Again, there is a deal to be had where you’d trade Steven Kwan. There was a deal to be had where the Twins traded Luis Arráez. However, Kwan’s elite defense and reliable offensive floor bring a lot of value. I suspect we will see improvement from him in the second half and an extension will be revisited in the spring.
“Stay, Stay, Stay”
Enyel De Los Santos
Call me an Enyel De Los Santos believer as his stuff has looked even better this year and his control problems were ironed out in the Guardians’ pitching lab. Give him a Stephan extension. You’d trade any reliever in the right deal but you’d have to get a huge overpay to trade a player like this.
Raffy left to Enyel’s Raffy right, Andrew Miller-lite, Daddy Long Legs is a guy I’d like to be in Cleveland for a long time.
Will Brennan has been very encouraging and even flashed a little power. I believe in him, but primarily as a centerfielder. Start him in center and we have our centerfield solution and Kwan in left, assuming we can get some pop from right-field. That’s why I do think it would be possible that the team trades Brennan or Kwan ... but you’d have to get a legitimate, young slugger in return and that seems extremely far-fetched.
Eli Morgan is beautiful and has looked beautiful in the bullpen. He’s a reliable back-end of the pen option and I’d be fine with a Stephan extension here.
Tyler Freeman is a pure hitter, as advertised. He hasn’t shown power, per se, but he has shown the ability to hit the ball hard. I could see a scenario where a team that believes he’s for sure a shortstop offers huge value for him, but I think Cleveland would want to hang on to what they’ve seen so far.
Don’t get me wrong, David Fry is supremely tradeable if anyone wants him a lot. But, you can see the exciting potential for him to be a reliable bench bat who can play catcher, third base, first base, and the corner outfield spots. This seems like the kind of player a small market team covets, so I imagine Cleveland will hold on, especially as he consistently hits left-handed pitching.
Logan Allen certainly isn’t untouchable, but it would have to be a special young player being offered in return to move on from a pitcher who flashed such special abilities in his time in the majors. He will be back in Cleveland by August.
Joey Cantillo is still ironing out control issues in Columbus, but that’s definitely something to bet on Cleveland helping him solve. I could certainly see Cantillo traded but Cleveland is going to value him very highly, especially considering his velocity gains.
Xzavion Curry seems like the kind of player Terry Francona and all MLB managers adore. No matter the situation, he goes out and keeps the team in a game and goes 1-4 innings. Hard to imagine a team valuing him way more than Cleveland already does. He’s easy to root for, also, so I’m glad he is staying.
“Soon You’ll Get Better”
Sure seems like, from the length of his outings in Columbus, the Guardians view Morris as a reliever. But, he can be pretty special in that role. He’s certainly not untradeable, but I’d imagine the Guardians want to see him healthy and in the majors before capitalizing on whatever value he has.
I’m a fan of Bo and a believer in him as the catcher of the future. But, he’s 23 and it’s gonna be a bumpy ride while he adjusts to major league pitching. Is he untouchable? No...? But it’s hard to imagine the Guardians acquiring a catcher of the future in a Bo Naylor trade, which they would need.
Juan Brito is showing a great combination of on-base and slugging skills while young for his level, looking like someone who could be a major league second baseman or first baseman. He could be traded, sure, but not unless you’re getting a proven major-league option with significant years of control in return.
Of course, the Guardians would be willing to trade Jhonkensy Noel in the right deal. At the same time, in a system mostly devoid of exit velocity, he has flashed it at every level and is showing signs of being more consistent to make contact still being three years young for his level. He needs to progress in the second half of 2023, but I’d be surprised if they move him.
“Tis The Da*n Season”
Here’s the thing: I suspect Amed Rosario will be here through 2023 and I think it’s because of how much the Guardians value his bat and want to be respectful to him and to Ramírez, who loves him. He is a poor defensive shortstop who is blocking a lot of interesting prospects and he will finish the season around 100 wRC+ even though he’ll be on fire for the month of July. I doubt another team really makes a big push for Amed, but if they do, the Guardians should (and I think would) trade him.
It really is trade season for Shane Bieber but I doubt the Guardians will trade him. First, because they are in line to compete for a winnable division and Triston McKenzie’s injury has really sapped their pitching depth. Second, I doubt another MLB team will bet on his ability to rediscover some of his Cy Young form like Cleveland can afford to do, at least for the rest of 2023. I expect him to be dealt in the offseason.
IF (notice the big if) the Guardians want to try to trade a starter for a young slugger, to me, Aaron Civale is the one who makes sense. His underlying metrics are better than Bieber’s, he has an extra year of control, and there is some injury risk. I think he could net a return similar to what Tyler Mahle did last season, depending on the status of the trade market. Again, I don’t think the Guardians will deal him, however, because of the state of their pitching depth, innings limits for young starters, and the potential they win their division.
“Mr. Perfectly Fine”
Nick Sandlin is a good, major league-reliever. He’s got some flaws against left-handed hitting. I could see the Guardians doing a Phil Maton deal with him and getting a guy with some swing-and-miss but good power potential who is blocked in Triple-A for a team desperate for bullpen depth. If not, he is a very useful bullpen piece in Cleveland and I’m glad he’s here.
“You’re Losing Me”
The Guardians aren’t going to trade Cal Quantrill at the nadir of his value, but here is hoping he starts to figure out how to eat innings for them again.
We have seen flashes with Gabriel Arias when he’s got consistent playing time. We’ve also seen him look overmatched. This all fits pretty well with his boom-or-bust profile. With him buried on the bench for the month of June, it sure seems like the team would be willing to trade him if a team believes in his potential. All we have to do is hope that that wouldn’t be a mistake.
Brayan Rocchio’s power has mostly evaporated in Triple-A this season. Is that because he’s a young player adjusting to a new level? Is it because he’s being exposed as a slap-hitter? Every time a roster spot opens up, the Guardians promote Rocchio and give him playing time, so, I do believe they like him. But, I could also see them trading him to a team higher on his value if that team exists.
George Valera’s hand/wrist issues have derailed his season and he’s been unable to find it at Columbus so far. It’s early and he’s still young, but I need to see some progress in the second half. Hard to see the Guardians trading him while his value is low, but if a team really liked him, it’s a possibility.
“This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”
Our beautiful SpongeBob lost his magic. Can he regain it? There have been some positive signs in Columbus recently, so hopefully he’ll get a chance to see what he can do in Cleveland again before too long.
Angel Martinez was dominating every level but ran into a brick wall to start the year in Akron. As disappointing as that is, he has been showing signs of life recently and is still young for the level, so I think he’s a potential trade piece in the right deal or a player we should expect big things from in the second half.
What could be better than a big, lovable slugger who starts book clubs and switch-hits bombs coming to Cleveland with the option of staying for a second year? Well, maybe some things could be better. Bell just needs to figure out a way to keep from smacking every ball into the dirt because the exit velocities have been fine. He just can’t seem to lift the ball consistently. No one is going to trade for him unless the Guardians eat his entire salary and want a Single-A prospect back, so all we can do is root for him to figure it out in the second half. At least it’s easy to root for a guy who seems to be such an amazing human being.
“You’re On Your Own, Kid”
Cam Gallagher is Bieber’s personal catcher and a mentor to Bo. That has value but not in a trade. The end.
Myles Straw is a fantastic defensive replacement and baserunner who is going to be here for a while. That has value but not in a trade. He should not start every day. The end.
“We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together”
I speak a bit tongue-in-cheek here because I do think Karinchak will be back after the All-Star break. However, his role in the bullpen has been for sure usurped by arms like Stephan, De Los Santos, Hentges, and Morgan. It remains to be seen if he’ll be able to control his walks and spin his fastball enough to keep hitters from crushing it when he returns. He certainly would be excellent trade bait, but watch out if the Astros or Rays come calling because I think those organizations would probably fix his mechanical issues in a heartbeat. Not that the Guardians aren’t also a whiz at fixing pitchers ... it just takes new scenery for some guys.
Hunter Gaddis keeps getting lit up in Triple-A. I think, unless we see bullpen injuries, the Gaddis relief experience probably starts next spring training and he’s a 6th starter until then.
“I Forgot That You Existed”
Keith Law is no longer defending José Tena. It’s probably over for this middle infield prospect. Maybe some team sees potential and wants him for a lower-level prospect.
An imminently interchangeable bullpen arm.
Get well soon, Peyton, but you’re a sixth starter. There’s value there, but you can trade and DFA as needed, also.
Next up, I’ll take a look at some players who may potentially be available at the deadline whom I believe the Guardians could target. For now, join me in pondering to which of these Guardians players we might have to say, “goodbye, goodbye, goodbye” in the next month.