Cleveland Guardians spring training: Does anyone want the shortstop job?

The Cleveland Guardians have many young options at shortstop this season, but so far this spring, they've mostly struggled. Who is the long-term answer at this position?

Cleveland Guardians Photo Day
Cleveland Guardians Photo Day / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Spring training stats are meaningless, never meant to be taken all that seriously - that is, unless, you aim to make a point in your favor (something we like to consistently discuss in the California Penal League podcast).

That being said, does anyone want the starting shortstop job for the Cleveland Guardians?

Through just a couple weeks of spring training, both Gabriel Arias and Brayan Rocchio - expected to be the two main options at shortstop heading into the season - are struggling. Arias is hitting .176 with six strikeouts in 17 at-bats, while Rocchio, king of the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason, has just two hits in 20 at-bats.

It's not fair at all to make assumptions about these players in such a ridiculously small sample size, though it is concerning to see Arias still striking out at such a high clip. Both he and Rocchio offer different skill sets - for Arias, he has tremendous raw power. His weakness remains the strikeouts and a strange ineffectiveness against lefties while being quite serviceable against righties, a truly strange and complete reverse split. Rocchio, like Arias, plays great defense, but should hit for a much higher average in the absense of power.

Both players have had glimpses of reaching their potential in their short major-league tenures, but never enough regular playing time. They'll both get plenty of it this season; however, it would be nice if over the next couple weeks, somebody emerges as a true option.

Then there's Tyler Freeman, throwing a wrench in everything by having a great spring so far, hitting .320 with a home run, a double, and four RBI in 25 at-bats. He's been seeing time in center field as well, so his future is likely that of a super utility man, but if he's going to be hitting, the Guardians will find a way to get his bat into the lineup, and that might include shortstop.

And not only that, but Angel Martínez and Juan Brito are also knocking on the door to Cleveland, eyeing shortstop themselves. There's a logjam going on, and the Guardians are going to keep cycling through options until someone eventually becomes the leader of the pack.

Rocchio (23) and Arias (24) are both ridiculously young, but it feels like this is going to be Arias' last chance to prove he's a capable major leaguer. His future could very well lie in being a weird right-handed platoon bat against, well, righties, but Rocchio will eventually have to hit at the major-league level too, whatever his playing time ends up being.

It's unclear whether the Guardians will find their long-term answer at shortstop this season. Fans should expect to see quite a few names filter through the position in 2024.