Hey, Guardians fans: Take a deep breath and relax.
The club has crossed the halfway mark of the season, reached the All-Star break, and sit two games above .500 with a record of 46-44. As former NFL head coach Dennis Green once famously said, “They are who we thought they were.”
Before the season started, I predicted this team would go 84-78, a prediction I still believe will come to pass. And as things stand now, the club is also 2 1/2 games out of the final Wild Card spot, and two games behind the Twins for first in the AL Central. With 72 games still to play, there is plenty of time to make up that ground.
Yes, I know the past few weeks have been frustrating; going 1-6 against the Yankees and Tigers to start the month was not great. But did we all just forget the part were they went 18-10 in the month of June and won seven consecutive series to start the month? A 6-3 stretch to close out the first part of July helped as well.
I will admit that I tend to be optimistic when it comes to my beloved Guardians. This team is far from perfect, but this is the youngest team in MLB, as well as every Triple-A club, too. This squad needs time and patience. I hate to break it to some fans, as a World Series title this season was so unlikely to begin with.
So let’s circle back to this idea that the club isn’t perfect. With nearly two weeks until the trade deadline, let’s play GM with this roster.
In my opinion, there are 3-4 categories of players on the current roster. Those who are core pieces, those who are worth holding on to in order to get a longer look at, and those who are merely keeping a seat warm.
Additions can and should be made this second half of the season. Personally, I believe the front office owes it to the team to go out and shore up a few spots to show the guys they are willing to help them reach the ultimate goal – a World Series title.
There may only be a 5% chance at actually landing him, but Juan Soto isn’t happy in Washington and the Guardians have a cornucopia of prospects that I’m fairly confident would satisfy the Nationals’ desired return. Same goes for trying to acquire Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds (yes, even though he is currently on the IL) or Baltimore’s Cedric Mullins. As much as it pains me, I don’t foresee their current teams trading them this deadline, though this winter could be a whole different story.
Instead, the Guardians could turn their sights to adding an Anthony Santander or Ian Happ type at the deadline – again, with the caveat that their clubs make them available.
However, if the Guardians don’t land a big name via trade, maybe it’s time to get longer looks at Nolan Jones and someone like Tyler Freeman. Cleveland can always hold off making a move until this winter as well. I’m well aware that this philosophy isn’t glamorous and will likely anger some casual fans, and there likely will be some growing pains.
Just remember to take a deep breath, and stay calm – the “second half” of the season is going to be fun. This team is certainly capable of catching fire and giving us an exciting end to the season. The goal should be at least a .500 record while staying in the Wild Card discussion through September.