The World Series is over, and with it, the 2023 Major League Baseball season. Coming with that is a power ranking of each team as they head into free agency.
This particular ranking comes from Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter. Reuter's list is based on their outlook for the 2024 season, and there are a few factors that are taken into consideration. Reuter would mention the criteria, "That includes how complete the roster is heading into free agency, how active the club is expected to be in the coming months and the overall direction the franchise is headed.". This seems like a more than fair way to evaluate ballclubs as the offseason is about to begin.
Coming in just outside the top half of Major League Baseball teams at number 17 are the Cleveland Guardians. This is a notable drop from the beginning of the season power rankings that had the Guardians just inside the Top 10 at eighth overall. Unfortunately, Cleveland was not able to live up to these expectations, as their offense failed to develop, and their pitching staff saw plenty of changes throughout the season. With how things unfolded for the Guardians in 2023, being ranked number 17 as things stand currently seems pretty appropriate.
Of the key free agents listed by Reuter, only one of the four truly makes sense for Cleveland at this point in time, Reynaldo Lopez, (the others being Kole Calhoun, Mike Zunino, and Lucas Giolito). The 29-year-old reliever was impressive during his brief stint in Cleveland, allowing just five hits in 11 innings while striking out 12. Lopez's impressive work in relief goes beyond his brief time with the Guardians. When going back to when Lopez was traded with Giolito to Los Angeles, he struck out 31 batters in 24 innings while allowing just four runs going back to July 29th. This is exactly the type of productive and experienced arm that the Guardians need in their bullpen.
The Guardians have plenty of work to do this offseason. This is not limited just to player decisions but also who their next manager will be. As things fall into place with a new manager and players they retain/acquire through free agency or trade, it would not be a surprise to see the Guardians make their way up these power rankings throughout the offseason.