3. Let the young guys rip
Under Francona, the Guardians have developed a bit of a reputation for not finding young players as much of an opportunity. Though to be fair, this was often during seasons when the team was in the thick of contention, led by a veteran lineup. While not in a dreaded full-on rebuilding phase, Cleveland has one of the youngest rosters in baseball, and it’s about to somehow get even younger with so many minor leaguers ready to come up.
Francona and the front office may not have much of a choice other than to let the prospects get extended looks once they hit the majors. Or, better yet, giving them a chance at all if they have a strong spring training.
Not that he’d break camp with the team, but could top prospect Tyler Freeman find a significant role the moment he gets to Cleveland? Will Steven Kwan or Richie Palacios make big-enough impressions to warrant a spot on the Opening Day roster? It’s certainly possible, especially if the Guardians aren’t supremely active in trade talks or the free-agent market once baseball resumes its activities.
The Guardians have developed one of the most impressive minor-league systems in baseball, and it might just be time to see what they’ve got.