The Cleveland Guardians are bringing in some pitching depth to start the 2024 season, signing right-hander Ben Lively to a major-league deal Tuesday.
After bringing back catcher Austin Hedges on a one-year deal and now signing a pitcher with a career ERA of 5.05, Guardians fans would be forgiven for not exactly going nuts about the team's offseason moves to this point (though we should all be paying more attention to Deyvison De Los Santos).
However, we've gone into greater detail about what Hedges truly means to this team, and there is some intriguing potential to Lively as well, at very little cost. Though his stuff won't be blowing anyone away at the major-league level, Lively does sport excellent command, which isn't worth nothing. And, really, aside from giving up a whopping 13 runs in an August 1 start against the Cubs, Lively was a serviceable arm for the Reds.
Up until that massive implosion, Lively had a 3.76 ERA in 11 starts (13 games), with a 4.78 FIP and .274 BABIP. He had an up-and-down run to end the season, no longer a starter for Cincinnati at that point, but if the Guardians are looking for starting pitching depth to at least start the year, Lively's at least a versatile arm.
From 2019 to 2021, Lively pitched in the KBO for the Samsung Lions, putting together a 4.14 ERA in 36 starts, striking out 191 batters in 202 1/3 innings.
It's doubtful Lively is with the team for the entirety of 2024, but he could very well help Cleveland manage the grueling marathon of the season, especially if a certain someone is traded this offseason.