Are we witnessing the death of MLB’s clubhouse glue guy?
As MLB teams move to spend less and fill rosters with younger, more unproven players, are we witnessing the decline of the Clubhouse Glue Guy?
Just the other day I was reading this article about Brock Holt, who at this juncture of his career is on the outside looking in. The guy will turn 34 this season and appears to be out of an MLB gig. As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
The gist of the article is that a fun-loving player brings the team together over the course of a long season – and that clubhouse guy no longer has room on an MLB roster. The logic is that many major-league teams simply don’t want to overpay for a utility-type older player when they could just give that role to a younger player for a cheaper price.
Where Is the Guardians’ Next Clubhouse Glue Guy?
It got me thinking… the Cleveland Indians/Guardians haven’t had this kind of guy on the roster in a few years, and the organization doesn’t seem too keen on adding one anytime soon. Without consulting the internet or anyone else for that matter, who is the last player that comes to mind that fits this bill? Jason Giambi? Mike Napoli? Rajai Davis?
This all leads to an interesting discussion about roster construction. Is there still room for the “Clubhouse Glue Guy?” The simple answer is a resounding YES! But as pointed out earlier, teams are shifting away from paying older vets in an effort to lower payrolls and give younger guys an opportunity. However, I think a balance can be struck here. When constructing a roster you certainly want a guy or two that can be leaned on when there is a rough patch, because there will undoubtedly be those times over the course of a season.
I decided the Clubhouse Glue Guy has to be an older positional player. A bullpen arm or starter can’t lay claim to this title; that’s just based on the nature of how they operate (not always sitting around on the bench). Rather, the Clubhouse Glue Guy needs to be the one young players look up to, offers words of advice/encouragement, and lightens the mood from time to time.
Turing our attention back to the 2022 Guardians (whenever they start), there really isn’t a Clubhouse Glue Guy on the roster. We all know Tito love his veteran players, sometimes to a fault. But recently, the roster has been void of many veteran types, save for a few bullpen arms – think Bryan Shaw, Oliver Perez, etc.
Sure, Jose Ramirez is the heart and soul of this team, and Franmil Reyes is a fun-loving guy, though he’s probably too young to qualify for this designation. Josh Naylor seems to possess some of the traits that could lead him to being a glue guy someday, but he isn’t there just yet and, again, is way too young to qualify.
It just begs the question: Could this team benefit from an older vet addition to the roster? I have no names to offer as to who could fit this bill for the 2022 season, though someone like Andrew McCutcheon could get the conversation started. It’s just some food for thought, and God knows we have plenty of time for that right now.