7 bold predictions for the Cleveland Guardians in 2024

San Francisco Giants v Cleveland Guardians
San Francisco Giants v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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4. Kyle Manzardo debuts and makes fools of everyone who criticized his acquistion

It was not necessarily the trade that brought first base prospect Kyle Manzardo to Cleveland that many were not happy with, but it was the way the Guardians acquired him. Coming to Cleveland in exchange for Aaron Civale at a time when the Guardians were somewhat in the mix for the division, many viewed this move as part of waving the white flag on the year by the organization. While moving an overperforming Civale did not help the team in 2023, the hope is that Manzardo will be a key bat in the lineup for years to come.

There was plenty of misinformed criticism when the deal was made. Manzardo did not necessarily have the best numbers in Triple-A at the time, and that was a talking point by many, particularly those on local sports talk radio who mostly talk baseball one day per year (Opening Day). What is often overlooked with this argument is that it was Manzardo’s first time above Double-A, and that has an adjustment period. Additionally, Manzardo was dealing with an injury at the time, which did not help his performance during that time.

The good news is that there is plenty of time for Manzardo to prove his doubters wrong, and that can happen this season. Manzardo was one of Cleveland’s best performers in Spring Training, which should have eased some concerns in those doubting him. Even though Manzardo is not on the Opening Day roster, expect him to come up a little later in the season ready to prove many people wrong and show he is not another Matt LaPorta or Jake Bauers.