3 players the Cleveland Guardians should target in free agency
The 2021 season is coming to an end for the Cleveland Indians, with just three games remaining on the road in Arlington and the Tribe needing a sweep of the Rangers to avoid their first sub-.500 season since 2012. Frankly, it’s impressive they’re in this situation to begin with between the injuries, the injuries, the injuries and DeMarlo Hale’s questionable management in lieu of Terry Francona.
Despite all of the negatives to this season, several players and positions have their near-term future sorted out, and Paul Dolan has pledged to spend on payroll this offseason to make the first season as the Cleveland Guardians a competitive one.
Even then, the roster has more questions than answers, and a pledge to spend money on a team with an incredible amount of young talent still pre-arbitration could very well mean extensions for key stars Shane Bieber and Jose Ramirez while thrifting through free agency as has been the strategy for years.
Cal Quantrill and Triston McKenzie have shored up a rotation that could rejoin the ranks of the American League’s best in 2022, Myles Straw is the de facto center fielder and leadoff hitter of the future, but outside of that there are questions all across the outfield, in the bullpen and at first base.
The flood of young infield prospects in the farm system will be the story to watch come Spring Training, with Gabriel Arias, Andres Gimenez and Nolan Jones likely competing for roster spots in 2022. That still leaves positions to be filled externally, with some of the Guardians top prospects still to jump past Double-A. So who does that leave in the Plato’s Closet of free agents that Cleveland could reasonably target for 2022?