The Cleveland Guardians' outfield situation is getting more complicated by the day as the team turns over every stone in the hunt for some sort of reliable production.
In addition to acquiring Estevan Florial from the Yankees, it's been noted that Tyler Freeman - an infielder by trade - has been working in the outfield at the team's Goodyear, Arizona training complex this offseason.
Freeman, 24, is currently part of a crowded infield with little room to maneuver, considering Andrés Giménez is entrenched at second base and shortstop figures to be a competition between Brayan Rocchio and Gabriel Arias heading into next season (our money is on Brayan Rocchio in the long run there).
Freeman has seen sporadic playing time in the majors over the past two seasons, compiling a fairly decent .243/.302/.641 line with four home runs, 21 RBI, ten doubles, six stolen bases, and an 82 OPS+ across 254 total plate appearances. He is of the pure contact hitter mold, displaying an excellent eye at the plate, striking out just 16% of the time with a little bit of pop. His 2023 xBA of .272 - and increases across plenty of other advanced metrics - suggests there is plenty of room for improvement moving forward.
And by considering a potential move to the outfield, Freeman could get the regular playing time he likely wouldn't see by only playing the infield. If he could morph into a super utility man for the Guardians, his value on the roster would skyrocket and further press a guy like Arias to make some much-needed improvements at the plate.
With each passing day, the chances of the Guardians making a notable outfield signing dwindle closer to zero, but that doesn't mean the outfield is a total lost cause. It's not the scenario any Guardians wants to see, but there really will be plenty of competition in the outfield throughout the 2024 season. Adding Freeman to the mix makes for an intriguing competition that could further push the likes of Arias and Myles Straw to the brink of roster irrelevance.