2. Trade Aaron Civale
When Bieber and McKenzie were taken out by injuries, Aaron Civale was a shining spot in the Guardians' rotation. The former 2016 third-round went 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA and 1.039 WHIP in 13 starts before he was shipped off to the Tampa Bay Rays for top first base prospect Kyle Manzardo.
Although some fans were happy to see Cleveland selling high on Civale, others were disappointed as his departure was a huge blow to the rotation. He also hasn't regressed since joining the Rays, pitching to a 1-1 record with a 2.93 ERA in three starts.
Manzardo is an exciting prospect who can be a difference-maker if he reaches his potential, but that's far from a guarantee. Some prospects reach a team's goals for them while others crumble as time goes on. It's just the nature of the sport.
What also hurts is that Civale is still arbitration-eligible through the 2025 MLB season. It's hard not to like the idea of what he, McKenzie, and Bieber could've done over the next few years. Instead, Chernoff needs to find another player to fill Civale's spot this offseason.
It's too early to say which team "won" the trade, but it's going to hurt Guardians fans a lot if Civale continues pitching at this level while Manzardo fades away. In other words, not only did this trade hurt his team in 2023, but Chernoff's decision could impact Cleveland for years to come.