3 Guardians who must bounce back in 2024

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3. James Karinchak

Frustrating yet intriguing. Dynamic but inconsistent. Eccentric and electric. All of these words can be used to describe the pitching performances of James Karinchak.

The 28-year-old reliever has dealt with bouts of inconsistencies throughout his career, but they were magnified this past season. Everyone was very well aware that rule changes were going to have an impact leaguewide, some more than others. Karinchak was someone that most expected to see negatively impacted due to his routine in-between pitches that were not at all brief. Karinchak struggled mightily, with career worsts in WHIP (1.333) and walks per nine innings (6.5), while his strikeout rate dropped to a career-low 12 per nine innings.

Of the four members of the Guardians appearing on this list, the importance of Karinchak bouncing back may be the lowest, but that does not mean he is not needed. Having another strong option on the back end of the bullpen alongside Emmanuel Clase is going to go a long way. Being able to have multiple arms capable of shutting down opponents late in games is an asset that every team wants, but very few actually have. Karinchak has shown in the past that he can be that type of arm. It is just going to be up to him to get back to that level in a season that could determine the trajectory of the remainder of his career.