The Cleveland Guardians remain one of the youngest teams in baseball, and there are still many prospects looking to make their mark on this roster.
Gabriel Arias and Tyler Freeman are certainly on that list, as the 2023 season will be pivotal in trying to shape their potential future with the organization. That being said, the Guardians are looking for creative ways to get both of them into the lineup, a necessity given the crowded infield situation at the moment.
Which is exactly why you might see Arias and Freeman spending time in the outfield this spring.
The Guardians' outfield isn't as set in stone as you might believe, and there is certainly going to be some playing time up for grabs given the relative lack of depth there. Steven Kwan, Myles Straw, and Oscar Gonzalez will no doubt be starting most days in the outfield, but Kwan and Gonzalez are still absurdly young players and Straw had his own struggles offensively last season (and, right now at least, is nursing a sore knee and will likely miss the start of Cactus League play).
Beyond them, Will Brennan (and potentially Richie Palacios) will likely be a true fourth outfielder, and aside from him, Cleveland needs some other options given the unpredictable nature of a long baseball season.
In limited at-bats last season, the 22-year-old Arias slashed .191/.321/.319 with a home run, five RBI, eight walks, and 16 strikeouts in 57 plate appearances. Arias was also dealing with a broken right hand last season that no doubt delayed his development. As for Freeman, 23, he hit .247/.314/.286 with three RBI and a stolen base in 86 plate appearances.
With such limited time at the major-league level, it's impossible to make a true assessment of Arias and Freeman at this point. But both remain tantalizing players and highly touted prospects, and - somehow, someway - they should find significant playing time for the Guardians in 2023.