The 2023 season did not go to plan for the Cleveland Guardians, ending up with a disappointing 76-86 record and missing the postseason for the third time in five years and just the fifth time under manager Terry Francona. The upcoming managerial change and hopeful addition of a power hitter should lead to the team being more competitive in 2024. That is at least the belief of Bleacher Report's Kerry Miller.
Miller named the Guardians as one of five teams who should return to the postseason in a recently published article, the other four being the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, and Seattle Mariners. After noting that the Twins won the division "by default", Miller would go on to say that a healthier year for the pitching staff and adding a legitimate home threat to their lineup could lead to a more competitive year in the American League Central.
"The only players the Guardians are losing as free agents are those they scooped up from waivers a few weeks ago (Lucas Giolito etc.). With any luck, Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie will be healthier on the mound in 2024, and they'll add at least one free agent who can hit the occasional home run."- Kerry Miller on the Cleveland Guardians
What it really comes down to, as noted by Miller, is adding at least one player capable of hitting the ball over the wall. The Guardians tried that this past offseason with free agent busts Mike Zunino and Josh Bell. While Bell had a little surge upon being traded to Miami, it was not enough to warrant any type of widespread panic and feelings of regret that many fans expressed on social media. Zunino was not picked up by a new team after being released in June.
What the Guardians cannot do is rely on any of their internal options to provide the production that was missed in 2023. They must go out and find external additions to their roster and not be scared off by the free-agent whiffs of last year. Following this path should result in the team being much more competitive and coming away with a very attainable division title.