The Cleveland Guardians have had a busy offseason by their recent standards, signing first baseman Josh Bell, catcher Mike Zunino, and a slew of minor-league contracts, some of which could prove to be quite interesting.
But as spring training begins to loom over the horizon, are they finished making moves, either through a trade or free agency? The smart money might say not yet.
According to Jim Bowden in a recent article in The Athletic, the Guardians are - to no one's surprise - still potentially looking to add a bat to the lineup before the 2023 season. Here is what Bowden had to say:
"The Guardians fulfilled their biggest offseason goals by signing first baseman Josh Bell (who gives them a much-needed middle-of-the-order bat with power from both sides of the plate) and catcher Mike Zunino (a special defensive player who gives them more pop at the position). Now, they are mostly focused on offseason development and preparing their players for the season. However, they’re still looking to add a complementary bat. The Guardians would love to add an impact bat in a trade but don’t see that happening given the market — at least to this point."- Jim Bowden, The Athletic
On that last line about an impact bat, that would suggest the asking price for a player like Pittsburgh's Bryan Reynolds - who Cleveland has been after for years now - is still absurdly high. But it makes sense the team would still be on the hunt for a complementary bat; their overall lineup depth still leaves something to be desired.
The Guardians know they got lucky last season in the health department; that rarely happens season to season, and the last thing they want is to once again have to thrust a ton of rookies into the spotlight when they might not be ready or if they don't have to.
That being said, the market for a trade just might not be there, and the Guardians have shown a patience in the trade department that doesn't typically result in them overpaying for talent or parting ways with too many highly-touted prospects.
It doesn't seem like Cleveland wants to be done acquiring talent ahead of the season, but if this is it, the team is still going into 2023 with a great chance to defend their AL Central crown.