Cleveland Guardians two biggest trade needs ahead of 2022 deadline

Cleveland Guardians
Cleveland Guardians /

The Cleveland Guardians are young, fun and playing winning baseball. That said, they’re a club not without faults–especially at one of the big spots in the batting order.

Terry Francona’s lineup lacks a true clean-up hitter. That spot was supposed to go to Franmil Reyes, but lack of product and then injury bounced him from the spot.

Reyes returned from the injured list in Minnesota, and while he hit a big home run, he often looks like he’s guessing, taking some bad swings and misses. While the rest of the Guardians lineup is swinging the pendulum back on baseball, making contact and shooting the ball to all fields, Reyes is still living by home run, walk or strikeout outcome.

Others who have tried the No. 4 spot include Josh Naylor (.231, .728 OPS), Owen Miller (.205, .569 OPS) and Oscar Gonzalez (.160, .570 OPS). It’s unfair to ask Miller and Gonzalez to fulfill this role because they are rookies. Naylor isn’t a rookie, but he’s still very young and coming off major leg surgery.

I’d love to see a trade for Orioles slugger Trey Mancini (.285, .793 OPS). He’s played mostly first this year, but has spent seven games in right field and three in left.

If the Guards are to trade for a player like Mancini, then it will all come back to Reyes. Will he be relegated to the bench, as a big bat waiting to pop in the later innings? Naylor is limited to what he can do because of his surgery. He’s going to play first or DH. Oscar is going to be play right or DH.

The commonality here is DH. If Reyes can’t consistently rake, his position, DH, is the easiest spot to fill at a spot in the lineup that needs the most punch.

Cleveland Guardians also need to add bullpen help

There’s been a lot of heroes in the Cleveland Guardians bullpen this season. Emmanuel Clase looks like an All-Star closer. Eli Morgan is thriving working shorter innings. He can throw harder knowing he’s only going to work an inning or two, which makes his change up much more effective. Trevor Stephan is throwing gas. Remember, Cleveland stole him away from the Yankees in the 2021 Rule-5 Draft.

Additionally, Sam Hentges looks comfortable in a relief role after bouncing between starter and reliever in 2021.

Those are the top four names to trust in Cleveland’s bullpen, with Enyel De Los Santos and Anthony Gose coming in five and six. It’s a good top four, but the Guardians could use another arm to count on before the trade deadline.

After those six names I threw out–and we saw it in the series opener against the Sox, the bullpen is a coin flip. Bryan Shaw will always be a fan favorite, but it seems like his relationship with Tito is the only thing keeping him on the roster. Yohan Ramirez can throw smoke, but I, and probably Austin Hedges, have no idea where the ball is going.

Watson out indefinitely?. dark. Next

James Karinchak is in Triple-A Columbus. He has a 7.88 ERA in nine games. I don’t know if he’s going to make it back.