Hopefully within the week the Guardians can expect to have both Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie back with the club. Both have spent the past few weeks with Triple-A Columbus rehabbing from injuries. And all things considered, the timing couldn't be better.
The Guards current starting rotation looks a little something like the following: Shane Bieber, Tanner Bibee, Hunter Gaddis, Logan T. Allen, and Cal Quantrill. Not terrible, but certainly not a rotation that any club would believe be able to carry a team through a deep post season run (I know, I'm getting way ahead of myself). But putting McKenzie and possibly Civale into that mix, and things look a bit brighter.
But this isn't a exercise in what I think the front office should do, that would be a very short article. It would look something like this. Upon their return McKenzie and Civale should be reinserted into the starting rotation. Move Gaddis and Quantrill to the pen. Done, and it's not even contriversial. Anyone who watches this team would likely agree a rotation of Bieber, McKenzie, Bibee, Allen, and Civale is probably the best group of five at this current point in time.
But assuming that this is in fact the rotation that the club goes with, we do need to look forward as well. One on the present and the other two-three months down the road. Last season Allen threw a total of 132.2 innings across two levels in the minors. Similarly Bibee also threw 132.2 innings, but across three levels of the minors. So to expect either one to pitch much more than 150 will be asking a ton.
Thus the crux of what I'm trying to get at. The Guardians would be well served to keep Gaddis, Quantrill, and possibly another around (anyone but Zach Plesac), to help with the inning management later this summer. Who knows maybe Gavin Williams makes a few spot starts as well, but he's topped out at 115 innings last season. So keeping an eye on his innings will also be of the utmost importance.
And if you want to expand it even further, to future years - it seems very likely that Bieber gets traded either at the deadline this summer or more realistically (given this front office's track record) this coming off-season. Then the club will be left with roughly 12 pitchers, between those on the current roster and Columbus, who came up as starting pitcher and have decent opportunity of contributing something to the big league club.
For the record those include: McKenzie, Bibee, Williams, Allen, Joey Cantillo, Quantrill, Civale, Peyton Battenfield, Gaddis, Cody Morris, Xzavion Curry, Touki Toussaint, and Plesac (I guess)
Of the 12 listed not all will make it to Cleveland. One or two are bound to falter or get traded, and the handful listed toward the end appear to be much better suited for long-relief.
With that said, even despite the Guardians struggles this season. The starting pitching this year, and for the foreseeable future, put the club in a envious position. The thought of a McKenzie, Bibee, Williams, and Allen led rotation is quite nice. Though health and development will be heavily relied upon, but so is the case with every other club.
Again, it will be interesting to see what the club does here in the next week or so. I think it's quite simple, but then again I'm not in the front office. And maybe the wheels fall off and Bieber is traded before July 4th. In a season full of ups and downs, how the rotation plays out is one story I will be following closely.