Starting pitching has quickly become the biggest area of need for the Cleveland Guardians

Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Guardians
Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Guardians / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

Entering the season, the starting rotation of the Cleveland Guardians was expected to be somewhat of a strength. Now, in the middle of June, it has quickly become the biggest area of need for the ballclub.

Cleveland has been able to make things work with a pieced-together group that includes Ben Lively, Tanner Bibee, Triston McKenzie, Logan Allen, and Carlos Carrasco. This is not about the first two pitchers listed, as Lively and Bibee have been the saviors of their pitching staff. The efforts from McKenzie, Allen, and Carrasco have left a lot to be desired, with an alarming outing from McKenzie coming in Tuesday's loss to Seattle.

For just the third time in his career and the first time when more than 2 innings were pitched, McKenzie failed to record a strikeout. There have been some concerns about McKenzie's outings this season, as walks and home runs allowed have become a consistent theme in his starts. With the current state of the Guardians' rotation and the team already in need of help in this area, they cannot afford to have someone they were counting on to be a stable presence to be this much of a liability.

This would be much less of a concern if Allen and Carrasco were not dealing with their own set of issues at the moment, but that is not the case. There is a very valid argument to be made about moving on from Carrasco and doing something, anything, to help Allen become a more consistent member of their pitching staff.

The expectation for the Guardians with the trade deadline approaching was adding a starting pitcher to help round out their rotation. It now appears that they will need two starters to add to their current group if they are going to continue playing at a high level and continue their quest to win the American League Central division. Sure, the eventual return of Gavin Williams should help bolster their rotation, but that is assuming he comes in and is able to be an effective pitcher on a consistent basis. While that is very much possible, they cannot just assume that will happen and not look to acquire someone via trade to add to their rotation.

The unfortunate aspect of this is that this takes away from trade chips that could be used to upgrade the offense, and that may impact how far they can progress in the postseason. Ideally, one of Williams, McKenzie, or Allen is able to provide the level of pitching they need on a regular basis, reducing their need from two to one, but until that happens, Cleveland's trade deadline activity may be focused on pitching and pitching only.