Guardians plan to find out about internal options this season

San Francisco Giants v Cleveland Guardians
San Francisco Giants v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

This is a bit of bad news for anyone still hoping the Cleveland Guardians to make an unexpected run at a still-unsigned free agent, but this is not an unexpected development.

The plan for the Guardians is to learn as much as they can about the plethora of internal options this season rather than make a run at someone who plays the same position. That was the main takeaway from president of baseball operations, Chris Antonetti, when speaking to the media in Arizona. While a significant portion of this plan appears somewhat rooted in the unknown status of their television rights deal for the majority of this winter, Antonetti is stating now that the organization prefers to give their own guys chances instead of them being blocked again with little to show for it, if anything.

"“There are the resources to go and get players and bring them into the organization, but if we sign someone and commit 500 to 550 plate appearances, we can’t give that to one of our younger players.”"

Chris Antonetti

On one hand, this confirms the chorus of Dolans Cheap that has reverberated for quite some time. But on the other hand, he has a point. There are a handful of players who have been making their way through the minor league system and are ready to put their skills on display at the major league level. Continuing to sign players in their price range that will make a small impact in the short-term and none in the long-term, while potential answers to their problems rot in the minors, is bad business. 

There is another factor at play here. How many names have fans complained about that have left Cleveland one way or the other, finding various levels of success with different organizations? The last thing anyone wants is to have another name added to a list that includes Yandy Diaz, Gio Urshela, and Jesus Aguilar, to name a few. Should any of their current young players develop into everyday players, it will make extending key players on the roster currently and signing complementary free agents to supplement the roster significantly easier.

This is simply how a team like the Guardians has to operate, develop, extend early (if possible), and bring in an external option or two to round out the roster at an appropriate time. Obviously, last season was not that time, as Josh Bell and Mike Zunino were massive flops during their time in Cleveland. Ideally, the Guardians can get it right the next time around, which should hopefully be after the upcoming season and before 2025.