3 Cleveland Guardians players who do not deserve to be back in 2024

Cleveland Guardians v Tampa Bay Rays
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2. Myles Straw

One thing has become abundantly clear this season. The Myles Straw experience has run its course.

It would be different if Straw hit like he did in 2021, slashing .271/.349/.348 between Houston (.262/.339/.326) and Cleveland (.285/.362/.377). Even the midway point from what he has done the last two seasons (.224/.290/.279) and 2021 would be tolerable. The problem is that it does not appear that Straw is capable of not being a complete and total liability.

It would be one thing if Straw's performance at the plate was better. It would also be another if he was not someone who played as much as he has. Straw's 141 games played is second most of Cleveland's outfielders and fourth-most among all Guardians players this season. Ideally, Straw would be in a part-time role that saw him come in as a defensive replacement, pinch runner, or designated extra-innings man that starts on second base. Unfortunately, Cleveland's outfield has been so bad that they almost have to play him on an every day basis, because the alternatives are not anything to write home about.

Straw's defensive metrics have also seen a decline in 2023. In 2022, Straw was first overall in Ultimate Zone Rating (13.4) among all center fielders and is now 25th (1.8) in 2023. Straw's 17 defensive runs saved was second, only behind Michael A. Taylor's 19, with his six in 2023 ranking seventh.

The issue for Cleveland is the contract extension they signed Straw to after the 2021 season. This extension continues to age like milk in the hot sun as he is owed $4.9 million in 2024, $6.4 million in 2025, and $7.4 million in 2026. There are club options for the 2027 and 2028 seasons at $8 and $8.5 million respectively, both of which are almost guaranteed to be declined. The Guardians may have to attach a prospect of note in order to move him. While this does not sound ideal, Cleveland does have an excess of middle-infielders, and they could part ways with one to get his contract off the books.