Cleveland Guardians: Let's make a deal, middle infield edition

It's been said for a number of years now, but could the Cleveland Guardians finally trade from their surplus of middle-infield depth?

Norm Hall/GettyImages

You've heard this before, we've all been warned - heck if you follow this team in the slightest, you know this to be true. The Guardians have 22 middle infield prospects ready for the bigs. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but only a little bit.

Expected to suit up for the Guardians or Columbus this year include the following: Andres Gimenez, Gabriel Arias, Tyler Freeman, Brayan Rocchio, Angel Martinez, Jose Tena, and Juan Brito. That's seven names for four open spots.

First off, Gimenez is going nowhere. Secondly, Freeman and Brito have begun to play the outfield as a way to become more versatile and earn some playing time - there's a reality in which Freeman becomes the everyday-ish CF. There are some warts to Arias and Rocchio's game, but both are still young and could be a long-term answer - time will tell, but they may both be running out of it.

We've addressed the point that none of these guys wants to secure that shortstop gig, but we are only three weeks into spring training. And writing someone off because of a bad dozen games is something the front office will not do. On the flip side, Martinez has been having a phenomenal spring, but again - three weeks does not make a career, and he'll need to put in the time in Columbus to prove this isn't a fluke. 

All of that aside, could we finally be on the doorsteps of the team moving on from one or two of these names? Or will the Guardians continue to hoard middle infielders and drive their trade value by doing so? I don't have a crystal ball, but it sure seems like an opportune time to get something back in return for one or two of these guys.

Would the return be substantial? Probably no, unless additional prospects are added. But I'm fairly certain that one or two of these guys alone would net at least a bullpen arm, and you can never have too many of those.

The front office should not and cannot be afraid to swing a deal. They cannot worry about any prospect leaving the organization and flourishing. Fans will cite Nolan Jones, Will Benson, and Junior Caminero as the reason the front office is hesitant to move anyone - but the reality is that's not how this works. Though the Caminero trade still stings, if I'm being 100% honest.

I'm hopeful that this is the season we finally get to see someone secure the everyday shortstop job and move on from one or two of these prospects. However, I'm not confident of that. As with all things, time will tell - but one thing is clear. The Guardians are marching toward an interesting time and one that will inevitably see them make some sort of decision on the shortstop position. They have to, right?!?!