Every once in a while, a rumor will spark a fire inside us. Typically, it's outlandish and nothing more than pure speculation that's fun to daydream about for a few hours or days. Other times, that rumor has some merit, and you have a Charlie/Pepe Silvia (an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference) moment, and it all makes too much sense.
This rumor, is more of the latter.
The San Francisco Giants are reportedly looking to improve their defense and have begun to explore the trade market for Shortstops. Enter your Cleveland Guardians, and the seemingly 56 middle infield prospects currently in the system.
Now, it is worth noting the Giants aren't devoid of intriguing prospects. Last season saw the debut of both Marco Luciano and Casey Schmitt. However, there are those who believe Luciano's long-term future will be in the outfield or at third base.
Knocking on the door for the Guardians are a quartet of middle infield prospects, including Brayan Rocchio, Juan Brito, Angel Martinez, and Raynel Delgado. This doesn't even account for the likes of Gabriel Arias and Tyler Freeman, who have spent a good chunk of the 2023 season in Cleveland, nor the next wave of middle infields slated to begin the upcoming season in Akron or the lower levels. But the Giants probably wouldn't be too interested in anyone who wouldn't make an impact on the 2024 major league roster.
Before I continue, I too fully believe that Rocchio is the truth and should be the Guardians' primary shortstop this coming season. I've also grown into a big Brito fan. I'm not saying that these two are untouchables, but the return would need to be substantial for each.
Would the Giants like to add Arias or Brito to their lineup? Does the fact that Freeman and Martinez are getting playing time in the outfield increase their value? I'm not sure, and I'm not trying to predict either. But a prospect of Brito's caliber would certainly pique the interest of nearly every other club in the MLB. It's time that we finally make a decision on who sticks in the short and long term.
So whomever it could or may be, who is dealt and potentially to some unforeseen team - the Giants just happen to be in the news recently, the Guardians could be on the cusp of an interesting opportunity. Again, sticking with the Giants, who have said that some of their young pitching is available (Mason Black would presumably look nice in the Guards rotation), adding young arms opens up other possibilities.
If the Guardians were to swing such a deal, could that make trading Shane Bieber all that more inevitable? Especially if he were to net an outfielder like Anthony Santander from the Orioles? The team would be foolish not to explore such deals. They already likely know the potential return in a Bieber trade. The unknown is what the Giants would be seeking.
This is all to say, that despite what appears to be a quiet and underwhelming off-season to date - things could really get turned on their head if the Guardians' front office is thinking along the lines of what I have laid out.