The Cleveland Guardians could make a run at these nine free agents
The Cleveland Guardians had a great 2022, but the team was lacking in some areas that hopefully some free agents can help shore up in 2023. Now, we know that financially the team isn’t historically known to spend big money year to year, and most of the free agents here can be had for very little. The team needs to tighten up first base, the designated hitter spot, and a fifth starter and that’s what we’re going to focus on.
Now most of these holes, however, could be filled from within. So you’ll see some guys that make sense regardless of the direction they go, but you’ll also see guys that make sense if they’re just trying to bide their time until a prospect, say, Bo Naylor, is ready for regular action at the big league level.
The Guardians could realistically raise their budget in 2023 after the season they had. Much of why the team slashed the budget after 2019 had to do with the pandemic, the bottoming out in tickets, and the lack of merchandise moving. In 2022, while the fans still didn’t show up as they do in bigger markets (because Cleveland rarely supports the club historically), they did move a lot of merch and did get that coveted playoff cash. So it’s very possible the team adds some cash to the yearly salary.
Before we get to the guys the team can justify chasing after, let’s look at three “if only” guys.
Three “dream” signings
Anthony Rizzo is a guy the club would love to have on a two-to-three-year deal but he isn’t really an option at this point, at least not until we know how much the budget will increase heading into 2023. He’d fit nicely in at first base, or even at DH, but until we know what he’ll cost, we don’t know if he makes sense financially.
With the rumors of trading Amed Rosario, if the Guardians did have the cast, swapping Rosario for a power hitter and a few prospects and then bringing in Carlos Correa would be one of the best series of moves in franchise history.
Unlike the other two, Michael Brantley doesn’t fill a position of need on this list, as the team needs more power than he can provide and you’re not giving up at-bats for Josh Naylor, Steven Kwan, or Oscar Gonzalez for an aging and declining Brantley. Still, even if he’s a bench player, Brantley would be great to have back. Especially now that he’s chased his ring down.