Cleveland Guardians trade rumors: Don’t trade starting pitchers – acquire one

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 25: Starter Zach Plesac #34 of the Cleveland Guardians pitches against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Fenway Park on July 25, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 25: Starter Zach Plesac #34 of the Cleveland Guardians pitches against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Fenway Park on July 25, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images) /

I don’t understand all this talk about trading pitchers and major-league assets. Trade Zach Plesac? Shane Bieber??? Are we crazy? Yes, let’s trade away valuable players for a haul of prospects and minor leaguers that can further clog up an already overly-congested 40-man roster and Triple-A club. Let’s slam the door, once again, on contending seriously for a playoff spot this season. Let’s continue to kick the can down the road and just wait for, I don’t know, 2024, ‘25, ‘26?

Selling at a point in your franchise’s history when World Series contention and a legitimate shot at the AL Central are in your grasp is just foolish business. I don’t care about the way Mike Chernoff and Chris Antonetti tend to operate. Trading Bieber or Plesac is taking their philosophy damn near to the breaking point of extremism. I’m tired of this front office cutting off their nose to spite their face. How about – and stick with me here, Cleveland fans – the Guardians actually go for it for once?

CRAZY. I know, it’s a novel concept in Cleveland, one we got a full taste of in 2016 and 2017, but one we’re not used to. I see the rumors online as this iteration of the trade deadline approaches, the once far-off rumors quickly coming into focus. It’s fun, and most of it won’t actually happen, so why not discuss in theory what certain trades would look like?

But let’s be honest, guys, this team is more geared up to add pieces rather than subtract and hope for a better outcome next season. As of today, the Guardians are 50-47, 1.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins for the division and 2.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the final Wild Card spot. We’ve talked ad nauseam about the relative ease of the Guardians’ division, and how the team can perform for long stretches of time (cite the month of June).

That playoff spot is right there for the taking. So don’t strip away talent, don’t backslide and pretend like a crop of young guys can overperform and ride to the playoffs. Add, ADD, for the love of God, add some talent to that starting rotation. Address a weakness for once and trade for a reliable, proven starter who can take the mound every five days down the stretch and give the Guardians a chance.

Which Starting Pitchers Could the Cleveland Guardians Target?

That being said, I’m not naive to the type of contract the Guardians like to acquire. Unfortunately, and evidenced by the swirling Plesac rumors, the starting pitching market isn’t that plentiful this go-around. There are options like Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo, but both become free agents after next year. Could a name like Ranger Suárez get thrown around if the Philadelphia Phillies start looking at selling? He’s 26, under team control until 2026 and carries a 106 ERA+.

Whoever it is, I think it would greatly benefit the future of the Guardians to go out and get a team-controlled starting pitcher. Add a guy like Suárez and you’re no longer relying on Kirk McCarty or Konnor Pilkington to start. Days like the Bryan Shaw bullpen day from Tuesday don’t happen. And most importantly, you’ll have another guy to fill out a starting rotation for the next few years that can work alongside Daniel Espino and Gavin Williams once they are called up.

I know Cleveland fans are all worried about stifling their emergence. So grab a guy who’s going to help you push for the division or a Wild Card spot in 2022, then keep him around and join him with the rest of the staff – and hopefully the additions of Espino and Williams – for years to come. In the past, the Guardians have enjoyed the luxury of having a quality arm as their third and fourth starter. That isn’t available on this current roster, so why not go out and get one, clearing up some of the 40-man and Triple-A clutter in the process?

There are plenty of names and plenty of teams that would yearn for any number of prospects that the Guardians have stashed away in the minors, just waiting for their opportunity to showcase their young, explosive potential. Let them go, and in return find someone who is going to add to the roster you have today and benefit it for years to come.