Five former players the Guardians should consider bringing back

Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Guardians
Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Guardians / Nic Antaya/GettyImages
2 of 5

2. Phil Maton

Keeping the focus on Cleveland's bullpen, a reunion with Phil Maton would make some sense for the Guardians. Maton has vastly improved since being traded to the Houston Astros along with Yainer Diaz during the 2021 season in exchange for much maligned outfielder Myles Straw.

The 30-year-old relief pitcher has seen his numbers improve pretty much across the board since landing in Houston. Maton has a 3.67 ERA and 1.255 WHIP in 162 games with the Astros, while those were 4.30 and 1.261 respectively in his 70 appearances in Cleveland. There is one area in which Maton's numbers have decreased, strikeouts per nine. Maton's K/9 was 12.7 across his three years in Cleveland, while it sits just under 10 in a full season's worth of games in Houston (9.8). While it has decreased, this number would have been tied for third with Trevor Stephan among qualified pitchers on the Guardians last season.

What a reunion like this is aimed at is finding a way to bolster the pitching staff as a whole. There were more than a few times that the young starters in the Guardians' rotation were not able to go as far as anyone wanted, resulting in increased stress being placed upon the bullpen. Over time, this can compound and lead to disastrous results late in games, a few of which were seen late in the year. Keeping in mind that there is a world where Cleveland is not getting their desired start length from the young arms in their rotation, the Guardians must find a way to improve the floor of their relief arms, and bringing back Maton would help accomplish exactly that.