It's time for the Cleveland Guardians to genuinely give Tyler Freeman a chance in center field

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

An interesting development has taken place as of late when it comes to who could be in the mix for time in center field this season for the Cleveland Guardians. Tyler Freeman has seen some in-game action during Spring Training in center field, which brings us to one question. Could the Guardians genuinely give Freeman a chance to start in center?

Let's analyze a few things before the inevitable knee-jerk reaction of no clouds anyone's judgment. It is not an accident that Freeman is seeing time in center in Arizona right now. Myles Straw and Estevan Florial are hardly intriguing options. While Straw is pretty much a lock to make the team due to his speed and defensive abilities, the same cannot be said for Florial.

Cleveland took a chance on Florial, and his spot on the roster was going to be dependent on his performance at the plate. Unfortunately, Florial has been an absolute disaster, striking out eight times in 13 at-bats while registering only a single. Floria,l being a complete non-factor at the plate, has opened the door for Freeman to get his shot.

Meanwhile, Freeman has been on the complete opposite end of the spectrum in spring. Freeman has four hits in 14 at-bats while only striking out three times. One of those four hits was a home run to left center against the Kansas City Royals this past Saturday.

While it is only one home run, it is an encouraging development from Freeman. The 24-year-old has never been much of a power threat during his time in the Guardians organization, with his single season-high total of six coming in each of the past two seasons. Even a slight improvement over these numbers would be a massive improvement over the one home run in two years from Straw.

Will shifting to center field be a seamless transition for Freeman? Probably not, as there are more than likely going to be a few misplays early on that he will have to put behind him. However, the potential of adding more offense to an outfield group that was incredibly disappointing outside of Steven Kwan would be worth the trade-off.

But before any of that can be considered, the Guardians are going to need to make Freeman getting reps in center field a priority for the rest of Spring Training. If Freeman is able to show he can take on the task defensively and continue to show an improved performance at the plate, it is going to be a very easy decision on how the lineup looks going into the season. Even if it is in a timeshare role with Straw, having someone who can potentially provide more offensively in the lineup on a regular basis is a lot more intriguing than another full season of futility at the plate.

The bottom line is that this team needs offense (specifically from their outfielders), and incorporating Freeman in the outfield could be a way to achieve that.