The Guardians keeping Chase DeLauter and Kyle Manzardo off the Opening Day roster is becoming impossible to defend

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers - Game One
Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers - Game One / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

It is widely assumed that the Cleveland Guardians are not going to have Kyle Manzardo and Chase DeLauter on their Opening Day roster. The organization seems strangely committed to having two of their better, if not best, prospects beginning in the minors this season. When evaluating the state of the major league roster and those who could be there to start the season, it is becoming more and more difficult to defend this reasoning, if not flat-out impossible.

Manzardo and DeLauter have been tearing it up in Spring Training so far. And while that is not always the best indicator of future success, they are heads and shoulders above a few other names who are currently floundering and looking for answers. 

So far this spring, Manzardo has seven hits in 18 at-bats, including two doubles, while DeLauter is 7-15 and just hit his second home run on Tuesday.

This is the type of production that the Guardians must have in their everyday lineup, and it is just sitting there right in front of them. And yet, the organization seems more than content on running out a few scrubs to start the year who are going to be nothing more than a waste of a roster spot.

Why give someone such as Estevan Florial any major league at-bats when he has failed to show he can do anything notable? Why rotate players in and out of the designated hitter spot when a timeshare at first base/DH with Manzardo and Josh Naylor is sitting right there? It makes absolutely no sense, and it cannot be defended in any reasonable manner.

Instead of keeping players down in the minors out of fear of the team not competing this year or trying to delay the service time clock from starting (a tactic that can backfire as evidenced by Tanner Bibee's second-place finish in American League Rookie of the Year voting and being granted a full year of service time), the entire team would be better off by playing promising young players at positions of need from day one.

What it all comes down to is understanding that the established players on their roster are not going to be here forever. There are only going to be a couple more prime years of production from Jose Ramirez, and after that, he will still be very good, but not at the level he is now. Continuing to let that go to waste would be organizational malpractice. The Guardians have to put together their best possible roster to start the season, and that would include Manzardo and DeLauter being with the team on Opening Day.