The Cleveland Guardians opted to make a few moves at the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline in hopes of pursuing a playoff push come October. However, the moves they made may have actually torn apart the clubhouse instead of bringing it closer to success. Are the Guardians going to internally implode, or will the team be able to settle themselves and rebound?
At the deadline, the Guardians opted to trade away shortstop Amed Rosario, pitcher Aaron Civale, and designated hitter Josh Bell, without filling the holes that they would ultimately leave. In return, the team brought in a few prospects, some cash, and a 30-year-old Noah Syndergaard. While Syndergaard was not too bad in his debut for the team, the option of Civale as a starter instead is clearly more appealing.
While the fans may have liked some of the moves made, specifically the now freed-up shortstop position for prospect infielders, the remaining players have been drastically affected by the moves.
According to multiple news outlets, the Civale trade "did not go over well" with players.
He was having a top-notch season, specifically in the month of July as he posted a 1.45 ERA through six starts and limited opposing teams to a measly .176/.229/.229 slash line. The Guardians opted to capitalize on his market value, sending him away for prospect first baseman Kyle Manzardo.
For the veterans on this Guardians roster, they took this move hard as the team got rid of one of their only healthy starting pitchers. The likes of Cal Quantrill, Shane Bieber, and Triston McKenzie will all be inactive for the next 3-6 weeks due to injury, and now the team will have to turn to a lot of their younger starters. Not only did they mess with their pitching rotation, but the player they brought back in return will more than likely spend the rest of this season in the minor leagues, and potentially a portion of next season as well.
The Josh Bell trade was one that many could see coming, and while it aimed to free up the designated hitter spot and avoid his player option in 2024, it left a gaping hole in the hitting lineup. In replacement, the Guardians have been trying to utilize the likes of Jose Ramirez as their designated hitter, in addition to Bo Naylor, David Fry, and others being able to rotate into that spot in the future.
And lastly, the trade for Amed Rosario paved the way for the future infielders in the organization to get a "prove-it" shot in the majors. Currently, they have a loaded shortstop lineup with Gabriel Arias, Tyler Freeman, and Brayan Rocchio looking to fill the newly found open spot.
While in the long run, those three moves make sense on paper, short term, the team is crumbling. They have already drastically struggled to find consistency and that has only gotten worse since the trade deadline has come and gone.
They fell to the Houston Astros 2-0 on August 1, marking the team's first no-hitter of the season in a disappointing loss.
Recent losses, combined with the horizontal moves made, have had a drastic impact on the team's overall morale. As mentioned before, the players certainly have questioned what exactly the team's expectations are moving forward.
Hayden Grove, who works with Cleveland.com's sports and social media, reported yesterday that the Guardians attempted to calm the players down.
"Guardians President of Baseball Ops. Chris Antonetti and GM Mike Chernoff flew to Houston to be accountable to the players in the clubhouse," he said on Twitter. "They met with players who asked questions, expressed frustration, etc."
It's unsure whether or not the meeting was able to fix any of the doubts, but that will all be decided by the play on the field. The Guardians will have to make sure they can calm down the players and locker room because if they get too unhappy, requests for trades and the parting of ways could happen. With so much preparation for the future, losing your last remaining veterans due to unhappiness would drastically affect the coming prospects' development.