Cleveland Guardians named as potential suitor for Blue Jays star

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays
Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages

Trade season is right around the corner, and with it comes attempts at playing matchmaker for teams that could be looking to reset and/or blow up their roster. With the Cleveland Guardians being one of the best teams in baseball, they could potentially be someone looking to buy at the deadline. One name, in particular, was recently linked to the Guardians as a possibility to improve and lengthen their lineup. Toronto Blue Jays star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Named as the number three landing spot in Zachary Rhymer's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Landing Spots amid MLB Trade Rumors, Blue Jays' Slow Start behind only San Francisco and Seattle on Bleacher Report, Guerrero Jr. would be a very welcome addition to the Guardians lineup.

The proposed trade from Rhymer would see Vladdy Jr. coming to Cleveland, with the Guardians sending Kyle Manzardo and cash going back to Toronto. Potentially dealing their number two prospect in Manzardo after only making a handful of appearances and while still under team control would be an aggressive move for the Guardians, but not one that is a foreign concept. Cleveland dealt catching prospect Francisco Mejia to the San Diego Padres after just 12 major league games back in 2018, showing that they are willing to make this type of transaction if they believe they will be better off for it. 

The biggest obstacle preventing this type of deal from happening, besides the trade terms, would be the financial ripple effect it would have on the rest of the roster. Guerrero Jr. carries a salary of $19 million for 2024 and should be expected to receive a similar, if not larger, dollar figure in arbitration next year. This could impact Cleveland's chances at signing Josh Naylor to a well-deserved contract extension, as well as navigate the first year of arbitration for outfielder Steven Kwan and whether or not an extension could be on the table for him as well. Manzardo's current contract status allows the organization to have flexibility with those two, while the high salary of Guerrero Jr. does not. 

What this would all come down to is how confident the organization would be in this roster, making a genuine postseason run this year and next while being comfortable in taking on additional salary. Acquiring a player with the financial commitment of Guerrero Jr. speeds up a competitive timeline with the understanding that this is their time to win a championship. 

The Guardians are certainly playing at that level this season and could be a team to go on a deep postseason run this year, but everyone would feel a lot better about that possibility if their starting rotation was in better shape. Yes, they have managed to do quite well, given that they are currently without Shane Bieber, Gavin Williams, and Carlos Carrasco, with Ben Lively, Triston McKenzie, and Tanner Bibee pitching quite well.If the Guardians could also acquire a starting pitcher, either alongside Guerrero Jr. or in a separate deal, it would make the proposition of going all-in on this version of the roster a lot more enticing. Without it, however, it would appear to be a move made that would improve the roster but leave the team without the required infrastructure to go on a genuine playoff run, and that may be what keeps them from making this type of aggressive trade acquisition in the end.