Myles Straw cannot be part of the Cleveland Guardians' 2024 plans

Though he brings a lot to the table defensively, Myles Straw is killing the Cleveland Guardians offensively and the team needs to consider other options.
Cleveland Guardians v Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Guardians v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Myles Straw is one of the best center fielders in baseball, but he's just killing the Cleveland Guardians from an offensive standpoint. And if the Guardians don't trade him this offseason, they have to consider changing his future role on the team.

In fact, the AL Central is something of an offensive nightmare altogether, as Straw, 28, had the third-lowest wRC+ in the majors this year, sitting at 69. The only two players behind him were Detroit's Javy Báez (61) and Chicago's Tim Anderson (60). It was a tough year to be any AL Central team not named the Minnesota Twins.

Overall, Straw hit .238/.301/.297 this year, with just the one home run, 18 doubles, and 20 stolen bases in 518 plate appearances. And in his three years with the Guardians, Straw is now hitting just .239 with a paltry 75 OPS+.

If Cleveland truly wants to return to contention in 2024, Straw simply can't have the same full-time role in the outfield.

One could certainly entertain the thought of Straw as Cleveland's fourth outfielder. His defensive prowess, of course, can't be ignored or understated, and he brings a ton of value on that side of the game.

And there is, well, his remaining contract, which will make him a bit tougher to move this offseason. He doesn't become a free agent until 2027, assuming Cleveland doesn't pick up his team option for 2028 or opt for the 2027 buyout. It's not like he's killing the Guardians with his contract - he'll make $4.9 million next season - and you could do a lot worse with a rock-solid defensive outfielder.

If only the Astros needed a center fielder and wanted to move a reliever like, say, Phil Maton, huh?

Overall, it's a bit of a balancing act for the Guardians. Straw did have five Outs Above Average this season, which put him in the top 20 among center fielders (he also had six defensive runs saved, good enough for seventh). The team very much values what he brings to the table defensively, and it's not always easy finding a reliable center fielder.

But at the same time, a center fielder with a top-20 OAA isn't impossible to find, and one figures Cleveland would be more than willing to sacrifice just a bit of defense to get more out of its lineup.

There's a good chance Cleveland's outfielder will look a whole lot different next season, aside from Steven Kwan continuing to hold down left. Whether that comes from within the organization, through a trade, or from a free-agent signing (yeah, we know), the Guardians have to do something to fix things.

Reducing Straw's playing time moving forward - or potentnially moving him somewhere else - is just one piece of the puzzle.