While the Cleveland Guardians' search for a new manager is the biggest item on the agenda, the looming start of free agency is right around the corner as well. Cleveland has several areas to address following a disappointing 76-86 season in order to challenge for the top of the AL Central again.
Adding some power, and improving offensive production from right field, should be two top goals this winter. Luckily for the Guardians, one player offers a solution to both problems.
Bleacher Report's Zachary Rymer has pegged Seattle Mariners RF Teoscar Hernandez as a "potential fit" for Cleveland in free agency. Rymer points to Will Brennan's lackluster .655 OPS as a reason to pursue a big upgrade in right field, while theorizing Hernandez "might" end up in the Guardians' price range.
Hernandez is the exact kind of explosive bat Cleveland should aggressively pursue this offseason. He's averaged an impressive 24.0 home runs over the six seasons, winning two Silver Slugger awards (2020, 2021) and earning an All-Star nod just two years ago as well.
Considering the Guardians ranked dead-last in HRs in 2023 with just 124 as a team, the outfielder would bring an element this lineup is severely lacking. His RBI production over the last three seasons (286 combined, including 93 in 2023 alone) should make him even more attractive to MLB's third-worst scoring offense from this past campaign.
The matter of cost will ultimately affect how hard Cleveland pursues the veteran, though. His recent accolades and numbers are sure to garner the attention of any contender or club needing some extra juice in their lineup.
On the other hand, Hernandez just turned 31 years old and it's worth wondering how much longer his power will last. His splits also dropped to .258/.305/.435 in 2023 while posting a career-high 211 strikeouts and his lowest OPS (.741) since he was a rookie in 2016.
Those factors could dip Hernandez's stock enough to where the Guardians can enter the conversation. Even despite the concerns, he'd still provide an immediate boost to this offense.
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