The Cleveland Guardians’ biggest need entering the 2022-23 offseason
By Kevin Devine
The Cleveland Guardians exceeded expectations in just about every way in 2022. They played well throughout the season, improving as the year went along, and got scorching hot down the stretch, running away with the division title in September and taking advantage of down seasons from the rest of the AL Central. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card round and advanced to the ALDS where they ultimately fell to the New York Yankees.
They played Gold Glove-caliber defense, relied on consistently excellent pitching, and saw the fruit of a stocked minor-league system provide them with both depth in 2022 and a look at what could be in years to come.
The Guardians have not recently made any big splashes in free agency. In the 2021-22 offseason, they only added a few players via free agency, including catcher Austin Hedges and relievers Bryan Shaw and Enyel De Los Santos. With the state of the Guardians roster and payroll, there is no reason to believe they will be heavily involved in the free agent market this year, either. That being said, they do need to improve their power hitting if they are going to get to the next level.
The Guardians' lack of power was evident throughout their postseason run, and while they don’t need to overhaul the lineup and field a team full of mashers, if they are going to win in October they need to add more consistent power threats who can drive in multiple runs at a time, open up games and capitalize on the baserunners that the team consistently generates.
The good news for Cleveland is that this is an area where the Guardians can improve fairly easily via multiple avenues this offseason.