Austin Hedges is a World Series champion, baby, and the Cleveland Guardians need to bring him back

It's clear that Austin Hedges is a beloved member of any clubhouse, so why not bring him back to the Cleveland Guardians in 2024?
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians were nowhere near the World Series this season, but there is something to celebrate: Austin Hedges is now a world champion.

Though his contributions weren't felt much on the actual field of play (he only had one plate appearance in the entire postseason, striking out), Hedges' greatest strength comes in the form of his clubhouse presence and how he endears himself to his teammates. Over the course of a long regular season - or a deep postseason run, dripping with tension at every turn - a guy like Hedges is essential in keeping the team loose.

And for a guy who hardly played, there sure have been a lot of puff pieces writing about Hedges, who really embraced the role on his new team, having come to Texas on August 1st from the Pirates. This includes the wonderful anecdote of him attending hitters' meetings in a jockstrap with the number of wins required to take the World Series written on his behind in eyeblack.

Should the Cleveland Guardians Bring Back Austin Hedges?

If that last anecdote doesn't convince you to bring Hedges back to Cleveland, nothing else will. The 31-year-old is now a free agent and would make a perfect backup catcher to budding young phenom Bo Naylor. The Guardians wouldn't be bringing Hedges back into the fold for his offense, but he'd make a fine mentor to Naylor and, perhaps most importantly, would once again bring a much-needed veteran presence to this still-young team.

In his three seasons with Cleveland, Hedges slashed .169/.228/.274, but - just like in Texas - he was revered for his motivational prowess and his impressive skills behind the plate. And if the Guardians do end up hiring a young, first-time manager, Hedges might become even more important in the Cleveland clubhouse. Having two beloved guys like, say, Stephen Vogt and Hedges in Cleveland could make a world of difference on a club still learning how to win.

And Hedges is a world champion now, after all. It never hurts to bring someone in with that kind of experience, even if it mostly came in the form of wandering around the clubhouse in nothing but a jockstrap.