The light at the end of the tunnel does not appear to be close when it comes to the financially conservative Cleveland Guardians.
A wise man once said, “You gotta do something man, you can’t just sit there.”. Those words were spoken by Jim Halpert to Michael Scott when he begrudgingly and temporarily took over the Regional Manager position on The Office. They also just so happen to apply to the Cleveland Guardians at this moment in time.
The problem is that the Guardians apparently do not feel inclined to do so. Cleveland’s front office is not looking to have a substantially different payroll in 2024, looking to maintain last year’s financials while navigating the waters of uncertainty in regards to their television deal. This will prove to be a massive problem for a team with obvious holes on their roster.
Cleveland’s lack of motivation to make a notable free agent addition or trade acquisition shows just how unserious of an organization they are. A ball club that trots out an outfield combination that possesses little to no power, in addition to not having any idea of who their shortstop of the present or the future will be, is far from acceptable. It’s almost like there is a way to address these issues, but the Guardians are not feeling super motivated to do so.
The relative lack of urgency to make a big-name move would be a bit more understandable if this was a team that was completely devoid of talent and stuck in a period of irrelevance with no end in sight. But that is not a description that applies to the current state of the Guardians. There is more than enough talent that a couple of additions of note could be the difference between being an also-ran and making a genuine postseason run.
The unfortunate aspect of the situation is that it does not seem like the help they need is going to come, as the organization is leaning further into the waters of being risk-averse. While the Guardians have been one of the sport's winningest teams over the past 10 years (their .547 winning percentage ranking fourth), it has not resulted in ending baseball's longest active championship drought. If this team ever wants to see that come to an end, they are going to have to make at least one notable addition for that to happen.
For now, it appears they are content with standing pat and letting things play out in a hands-off manner, hoping they can take advantage of a weak American League Central with a division title being their path to the postseason. It is not an exciting approach, and it may even work, but that does not mean their hoping to catch lighting in a bottle process is an appropriate way to run the organization.
Perhaps the Guardians would be wise to take some advice in the form of a quote that the above-mentioned Mr. Scott attempted to claim some sort of ownership of and start taking some shots they otherwise wouldn't. It's hard to improve a roster if there is not an honest attempt to do so, and now is the time to do it.