Cleveland Guardians shed offseason loser label as they continue to be one of the best teams in baseball

Cleveland Guardians v Toronto Blue Jays
Cleveland Guardians v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

There was not a single person on this planet who was entirely sure how the 2024 season would play out for the Cleveland Guardians. Was 2023's disappointing campaign an accurate depiction of their talent level, or was 2022 more representative of this team's abilities? Not helping matters was a relatively quiet offseason that did not appear to be much in the additions department, Cleveland moved on from two pitchers in moves that were received plenty of criticism, and they were the recipient of the "offseason loser" tag. But with a 44-25 record to their name, it appears that they have clearly shed that label and proven that it was an incorrect distinction to receive to begin with.

Bleacher Report's Kerry Miller recently reviewed who was deemed a winner and loser from before the season began and determined that the Guardians are no longer in the loser category.

"It's not so much that Cleveland seemed to be actively getting worse this past offseason, but that it wasn't particularly trying to improve after a disappointing 76-86 campaign."

Kerry Miller on the Cleveland Guardians

It is certainly understandable why this opinion was held by Miller. Cleveland discarded Cal Quantrill and Enyel De Los Santos this past offseason in favor of Scott Barlow, Ben Lively, Carlos Carrasco, and Austin Hedges. For a team looking to rebound from an underwhelming campaign the year before, this did not appear like the right course of action to do so.

The reality is now and was then that this roster was not in need of a major addition to get back on track. This Guardians team just needed to learn from the experiences of 2023 and make adjustments for 2024, two things that have clearly happened. Too much was made of Cleveland's lack of power in their lineup, as the group of contact first hitters have found their ability to hit for more power this season, a trait that is much easier to develop than waiting for a power hitter to learn to hit for contact. This patience has paid off as a team that struggled to hit the long ball last season currently ranks 12th in home runs with 76 and tied for 11th in OPS with the Kansas City Royals (.717).

Cleveland has proven that they are for real and have shown that the preseason predictions, which saw them expected to be an American League Central division bottomfeeder were completely off base. It is important to understand why and how something happened, not just that it happened, and if that was properly applied to last year's performance and how they approached this season, they would not have been deemed a loser in the first place.