Reason 1 why the Guardians are not in the American League Central division race: Uncertain Trade Deadline intentions
There is not one person that can definitively say exactly the Guardians will do at the trade deadline, and that includes the braintrust in Cleveland's front office. Equally valid cases can be made to buy, sell, or do a little bit of both. Ideally it is a combination of buying and selling when the deadline approaches.
One thing to consider is that there are some clear trade chip candidates on the roster currently that could be moved. If they are moved it would open up opportunities for younger players in the system who are eagerly awaiting their shot in the bigs, but currently have no clear path to get there. Until the true intentions of their deadline approach are known, it makes it difficult to believe that the team will make transactions that add talent to the roster and not remove it.