After a 92-win campaign in 2022, the Cleveland Guardians left much to be desired with a 76-86 record in 2023. While it was the third time that the organization missed the MLB playoffs in the last five seasons, there's no point in dwelling on those shortcomings now that the offseason is in full swing.
General manager Mike Chernoff has a lot of work to do to get the Guardians back into the playoffs, but he can get some help through free agency. While the offseason opens the door to bringing in new faces, it also allows teams to reunite with past players.
Here's a look at three former Guardians that Cleveland can sign for a reunion in the coming months.
1. Michael Brantley, OF
Guardians fans have fond memories of Michael Brantley, who joined the team back in 2008 through the trade that sent CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Bellevue, VA native made his Cleveland debut during the 2009 season and it didn't take him long to become a fan favorite. Brantley went on to play 1,051 games across 10 seasons with the Guardians, racking up 179 home runs and 720 RBIs while making three MLB All-Star appearances and even finishing third in the 2014 American League MVP voting.
However, Brantley left Cleveland in 2018 to join the Houston Astros on a two-year, $32 million deal. The move ended up paying off for him, though. While he never reached the same personal heights as he did with the Guardians, he still made two more ASG appearances and even played a role in the Astros' 2022 World Series run.
Reuniting with Brantley makes complete sense for the Guardians, who are desperate for more offensive production from their outfield. Although it's been five seasons since he last hit double-digit home runs, the 36-year-old is still a consistent batter, slashing .305/.365/.463 since leaving Ohio.
With likely only a few years left in the tank, it'd make sense for Brantley to end his career where it all began.