Guardians are the team to watch as trade deadline approaches

Cleveland's front office could decide to go in any direction
Cleveland Guardians Photo Day
Cleveland Guardians Photo Day / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

There may not be a more intriguing team to watch prior to Major League Baseball's trade deadline than the Cleveland Guardians.

While they did enter the All-Star break in first place in the American League Central division, that does not necessarily mean all that much as it is easily the worst division in the sport. All it takes is a bad week and their half game lead over the Minnesota Twins could entirely disappear. Should Cleveland find themselves multiple games back in the division, it would not necessarily be a surprise to see them enter some version of sell mode. That could include trading starting pitchers Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale, two players who appeared in a list of the Top 50 trade candidates.

On the other hand, the Guardians could go on a run to close the month of July which would put them into buy mode. In that scenario Cleveland would be looking to upgrade their offense, an area that they have notably struggled in despite being one of the better units as of late. The inconsistency that they have shown all season long should be a warning to the front office that they can not be fine with that they have on the roster currently and that they should look for upgrades if possible.

It is all going to come down to which version of the Cleveland Guardians emerges from the All-Star break. The version that catapulted themselves into first place with a winning record for the first time since mid-April for a brief moment. Or the other version which was seven games below .500 multiple times before their recent uptick in play.

With three of their five series before the trade deadline being against teams below .500, there is a very good chance that they could end up looking to make substantial additions rather than subtractions. The game-by-game performance of the Guardians during this stretch is truly going to be a barometer for which direction this team will head in.