Temper those free-agent expectations for the Cleveland Guardians

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This isn't a popular opinion, but Guardians fans will need to temper their expectations for the club's activity this winter via free agency.

With early season line-ups likely to include Bo Naylor, Josh Naylor, Andres Gimenez, Gabriel Arias, Jose Ramirez, Steven Kwan, and a likely platoon of Ramon Laureano/Will Brennan. It stands that the Guardians need to add an outfield bat, relief help, and another starting pitcher wouldn't hurt - though said starter will likely be an older vet or reclamation project.

Turning an eye to the outfield, let's get this out of the way - there's a near zero percent chance that the Guardians land Shohei Ohtani or Cody Bellinger. Bigger market teams will be on each well before the front office gets the coffers out. But daydreaming of Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., or Hunter Renfroe is more realistic. Trading for and reacquiring Anthony Santander would also fill the hole in the outfield nicely.

Instead, expect smaller free agent moves during free agency, like the acquistion of Christian Bethancourt. Bethancourt appears to be an upgrade at the backup catcher role and should also help in the growth of Bo Naylor.

Waiting in the wings is an intriguing set of prospects including Kyle Manzardo, Chase DeLauter, Brayan Rocchio, George Valera, and Johnathan Rodriguez. Manzardo could break camp as the opening day 1B/DH, splitting duties with Josh Naylor. Depending on how Arias fairs, Rocchio would likely be next in line at shortstop - a position the club must figure out during the 2024 season. By acquiring an outfielder this year, the club would theoretically only need one of the three outfield prospects to pan out.

Things should get moving now that the GM Meetings are underway, but let's collectively remain calm if the Guardians make no big splashes out of the gate.