The Cleveland Guardians have a few roster spots still to fill out.
The Cleveland Guardians are lucky, they have a nice rotation, a top-end hitter, several big-time home run hitters to support him, and a depth of unique and impressive talent in the minors. While we know Jose Ramirez is at third and Shane Bieber is the ace, there are still several key places that guys need to step up and secure.
While positions like catcher should be up for debate, it appears, at least according to MLB.com, that Austin Hedges is entrenched in the position, despite not being the best hitter available. That said, a pair of men from the Brewers organization may make a claim. Luke Maile signed with the Guards in the off-season, and David Fry came over in the J.C. Mejia trade. Fry is a developmental prospect at the moment but Maile could push for some playing time if Hedges struggles again.
Bobby Bradley and Franmil Reyes are pretty locked in at first and DH respectively but that could change if they struggle and while Amed Rosario isn’t a lock to play shortstop, he is a lock to be in the everyday lineup. It just depends where he’s needed most; the outfield or shortstop.
So what positions are the Tribe trying to figure out?
Three position battles the Cleveland Guardians have to figure out
Corner outfielder spots
Right now the only outfielder who has a spot is Myles Straw. He’s the obvious starter in center, but it’s left and right fields that need their spots filled. Bradley Zimmer is a candidate, as is Oscar Mercado. Beyond that, Nolan Jones is an outside pick, as is Steven Kwan, though Kwan may make the opening day roster. Josh Naylor makes sense if he’s healthy, but he suffered a brutal injury in 2021, and it’s been pretty mum on how he’s doing. MLB.com has Zimmer, Naylor, Mercado, Richie Palacios, Kwan, George Valera, Amed Rosario, Daniel Johnson and Franmil Reyes as options for the spots.
Reyes and Rosario are likely to play elsewhere (DH and shortstop).
Speaking of Rosario, he’s on the shortlist to walk away as the starting shortstop in 2022. He’ll have competition from fellow-former-Met infielder Andres Gimenez at the position. They’re not the only ones though, as Ernie Clement is looking to improve on his 2021 season, where he hit .231 and had three home runs. Yu Chang is another guy with time that is looking to play at second. MLB.com has Tyler Freeman, Bryan Rocchio, Gabriel Arias, and Owen Miller as other candidates for the spot.
I think we all know Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak are locks for the bullpen. Karinchak had struggles in the second half of the season but that may have been due to fatigue more than anything. Eli Morgan is another name that makes sense as an innings eater, as does outfielder turned pitcher Anthony Gose. Nick Sandlin and Sam Hentges could also be options depending on how the spring shakes out. Then you have names like Trevor Stephan, Logan Allen, Cody Morris, Tobias Myers, Konnor Pilkington, Justin Garza, Ian Gibaut, and Jake Jewell who are in contention, according to MLB.com.