The Cleveland Guardians made a pair of impactful moves in MLB free agency. Cleveland added a powerful switch-hitting bat in Josh Bell to add extra protection for Jose Ramirez in the lineup. They later signed a catcher with power potential as well in Mike Zunino. Cleveland made a number of other low-profile moves, but those are certainly their standout additions. But should the Guardians consider making one final trade ahead of the 2023 campaign?
Without further ado, let’s take a look at one last-minute move the Guardians must make to round out their roster.
Guardians’ primary needs
The Guardians’ depth chart, as provided by MLB.com, is fairy full heading into the season. Their Shane Bieber-led rotation is expected to be one of the better pitching staffs in the league once again. Meanwhile, their bullpen is led by All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase. Set-up men James Karinchak and Trevor Stephan impressed last season as well. Cleveland has a legitimate argument for the deepest bullpen in the American League.
But things get a bit more questionable from an offensive standpoint. The Guardians are confident in their infield. Jose Ramirez is their superstar and he is set to anchor third base. Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez play up the middle, while Bell will assume first base duties. Meanwhile, Zunino is behind the plate and Josh Naylor will handle the DH spot.
Oscar Gonzalez, Myles Straw, and Steven Kwan are Cleveland’s outfielders. All three players are capable, as Kwan played a pivotal role for the Guardians on both sides of the ball last year. Straw’s offensive production was far from ideal but he was a Gold Glove winner. And Gonzalez had one of the team’s biggest moments during the playoffs.
But adding a proven outfielder would help matters for this Guardians team. Given their impressive farm system, Cleveland may be able to swing a trade for Pittsburgh Pirates’ disgruntled star Bryan Reynolds.
Bryan Reynolds Guardians-Pirates trade
Bryan Reynolds requested a trade from the Pirates earlier in the offseason. Teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees have been linked to Reynolds since the request became public.
But the Guardians have one of the top farm systems in the league. It should be noted that prospects are extremely valuable for a small-market team like Cleveland. They don’t have the luxury of being able to spend a lucrative amount of money in free agency on a consistent basis.
However, this is an organization that hasn’t won the World Series since 1948. They need to go all in and give the city of Cleveland a World Series championship. Building for the future is important without question. But the Guardians could trade for Bryan Reynolds and make him a valuable part of their future alongside stars such as Bieber, Ramirez, Clase, and Gimenez.
Reynolds could be an option for the team in the outfield. They would need to make a difficult decision on Straw, Gonzalez, or Naylor, but depth is never a bad thing.
Is this deal realistic?
This potential Guardians-Pirates Bryan Reynolds trade is absolutely realistic. It all comes down to whether or not Cleveland would be willing to part ways with some of their high-profile prospects.
If Cleveland turns this proposed deal into a reality, their offense and defense would benefit in a major way. They would also have a better chance of making a deep playoff run.
It will be interesting to see if the Guardians display any interest in Reynolds ahead of the 2023 season.