The Cleveland Guardians were the youngest team in baseball this season, but they did not use that as an excuse to not compete for a postseason berth, sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card round before succumbing to the veteran New York Yankees in five tight games. Manager Terry Francona has been sensational in being the leader of this squad that has one of the brightest futures in the league and he just decided to come back for 2023.

The Atlanta Braves have received a ton of praise for how the front office and management have secured the contracts of all their young guns, but the Guardians can have a similar approach to locking up their youngsters for the foreseeable future. Fast-tracking the evolution and progress of this organization has been tremendous, and these are several reasons why they should not be as disappointed with the ALDS loss.

2 Reasons Guardians Should Remain Optimistic

1. Money to spend

It is as simple as stating that Jose Ramirez is the only player on the Guardians that are paid more than $10 million this season. Youngsters such as Steven Kwan, Andres Gimenez, and Triston McKenzie are All-Star caliber guys who can be some of the best at their position in the next couple of years. With the same pieces of a championship-contending squad already, it puts them in a position to recruit or add big names with the number of dollars they can spend on those guys.

Cleveland is a small-market franchise compared to the likes of Los Angeles or New York, so they will not be willing to spend hundreds of millions compared to those organizations. However, the Guardians can also use the Rays as another prime example of a team with a low team payroll but still finds a way to become a force. If the management and ownership group sees the dedication and perseverance of this unit, they could be willing to spend a bit more than usual to grab a World Series crown for the first time since 1948.

2. Leaders like Jose Ramirez and Terry Francona

For an inexperienced and youthful squad like the Guardians, it is easy to drift away from the short and long-term goals. Reasons such as instant gratification or off-field rewards can twist their attitude and mentality in baseball. However, there seem to be no signs of that on their squad, and one major reason for that is the leaders of the franchise, namely manager Terry Francona and superstar 3B Jose Ramirez.

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The approach of the Guardians of focusing on the “small ball” approach may have cost them in the ALDS against a powerhouse Yankees squad, but that strategy turned out to be an effective way for them to prove the doubters wrong. They do lack the power hitters necessary to compete at the highest level as Josh Naylor and Oscar Gonzalez are still raw to be at the same caliber as Aaron Judge or Yordan Alvarez.

Even though some holes are still essential to fill in the next couple of years, there is a solid and robust culture that is influencing the whole organization. The expectation was it was going to be a rebuilding phase for Cleveland this year, but they did not just win many games; they advanced all the way to ALDS.

For the pitching aspect, Shane Bieber is another gem that the Guardians must not let go of because he will be the veteran that will guide the likes of Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill to continue evolving into massive arms for Cleveland. The Guardians are known to produce a plethora of aces, but the hope is they all stay put and help this franchise compete for years to come.