3 Guardians on Thin Ice Heading Into Spring Training

The Cleveland Guardians will need these three players to step up if they want to return to the playoffs this season.

Aug 6, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians center fielder Myles Straw (7) hits a single
Aug 6, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians center fielder Myles Straw (7) hits a single / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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3. James Karinchak

The Guardians hope Karinchak can get back on track this season after being sent down to the minors a couple of times last season. 

The 28-year-old reliever struggled with his control last season as he had a 2-5 record, 3.23 ERA, 28 walks, and allowed six home runs in 39 innings of work. However, he still produced 52 strikeouts despite spending some time in the minors.

Cleveland would love to see Karinchak return to his 2022 form, where he had a career-best 2.02 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 39 innings. The Guardians still believe in Karinchak, signing him to a one-year, $1.9 million deal this offseason to avoid arbitration.

The Guardians already have one of the best closers in the American League in Emmanuel Clase. But if Karinchak can be that 8th-inning bridge to the ninth, it will make life simple for Cleveland this season.

As things stand before Spring Training, oddsmakers have the Guardians as heavy +340 underdogs to make the postseason in 2024.

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