Bo Bichette linked to Cleveland as Guardians are expected to add at trade deadline

Pittsburgh Pirates v Toronto Blue Jays
Pittsburgh Pirates v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

It was just last week thatthe Cleveland Guardianswere ranked in the top five landing spots for Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette.What was once just a projection appearing in a list on Bleacher Reportappearsto be gaining some traction, as ESPN's Jeff Passan has linked Cleveland and Bichette.

Passan states that the Guardians appear to be a team ready to buy at the deadline, noting that there may not be a better fit than Bichette in Cleveland. It is hard to argue with that belief, considering the lackluster offensive output the Guardians have received from Gabriel Arias and Brayan Rocchio this season. One of these two was expected to at least provide average offense while in the batter's box, but both have been unable to do so. Finding a way to upgrade what has been a forgettable season from these two would go a long way for the Guardians' postseason hopes. 

Even though Bichette is having one of his worst years as a hitter, it is still notably better than contributions from Rocchio and Arias. Bichette's slash line sits at .236/.284/.385 with an OPS+ of 81 in 56 games compared to Rocchio's .203/.308/.259 slash line and 68 OPS+ and Arias's .209/.246/.313 and 61 OPS+. While all are subpar by every metric, Bichette has proven in his six-year career to be a very productive hitter, sporting a career line of .294/.335/.474 slash line and 122 OPS+, while Rocchio and Arias have done nothing in their brief stints in the majors to show they are much better than what they've shown thus far.

An immediate move is not entirely necessary at this time, as the Guardians have managed to win plenty of games with their current shortstop situation so far. However, that does not mean that looking to upgrade the shortstop position should be put on the back burner and avoided until the last moment due to the very likely possibility that another team could swoop in and acquire Bichette before the Guardians get the chance to do so.

Are there other moves the Guardians have to make this season in order to genuinely compete? Yes, but that does not mean they can ignore adding a shortstop at or before the deadline. They do need another starting pitcher and maybe an outfielder to add to the mix, but they cannot afford to have an offensive black hole at a position where the acceptability of that prospect has gone the way of the Dodo. Cleveland must absolutely find a way to upgrade their offensive contributions from their shortstop, and betting on Bichette being able to turn things around and being the solution to their problem is one worth making.