Inbox: Could Arias stick in everyday lineup?

April 17th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Mandy Bell’s Guardians Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The Guardians have gotten off to a hot start this season, but a lot of questions have emerged in the first few weeks. Let’s see what we can answer in this edition of the Guardians Inbox.

If keeps hitting like he has lately, could the Guardians find a spot for him in the everyday lineup? Could he perhaps see time at third and first base to give José Ramírez and Josh Naylor more DH at-bats? -- @AndyMees216

We’re still learning how Stephen Vogt works as a manager, but so far, it seems like he’s not afraid to ride the hot hand. After Estevan Florial hit two homers this past weekend against the Yankees, he was in the starting lineup Monday in Boston. When Arias started to heat up over the weekend, he was in the starting lineup Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. So, in short, yes. If Arias is hitting, it seems like they’ll find ways to keep him in the lineup, and that could be at first, third or shortstop. If Brayan Rocchio is struggling at the plate, there’s no reason not to give Arias more turns at short.

Any word on Gavin Williams’ rehab and when he’ll be ready? -- @cjerd09

Williams is beginning a more competitive ramp-up now. He was scheduled to throw two innings in a simulated game in Arizona on Monday. The indication was that Williams would pitch in at least one more simulated game before he’d begin a rehab assignment. The best guess would be that he’d need at least three starts in the Minors before joining the big league rotation. So, assuming all of that goes smoothly … let’s guess mid-May.

With Shane Bieber’s injury, who do you envision developing into the next rotation ace? -- @davpatterso

The biggest question is whether Williams will recover fully. At this point, there’s no reason to believe he won't, but when a pitcher is working back from elbow discomfort, you have to at least throw that disclaimer out there. Assuming everything goes smoothly these next few weeks, I would guess that Williams will emerge as Cleveland's clear-cut ace. He gave everyone a taste of how impressive he could be last year. With a little experience under his belt, Williams could be really impressive this year. The Guardians just need to get him back into the mix.

When Kyle Manzardo gets here, should the Guardians move Josh Naylor to right field and keep the DH as a rotation? -- @JoeCepec

Don’t expect Josh Naylor to head back to right field. The best guess is that Naylor and Manzardo (Guardians' No. 2 prospect) would rotate between DH and first base.

Who are the two to three Minor Leaguers we might see in Cleveland this season? -- @PUNXS

There will probably be a couple, but let’s go with Chase DeLauter (No. 1 prospect) Manzardo and Andrew Walters (No. 25 prospect) Manzardo is the lock. It’s only a matter of time before he gets his shot. DeLauter is more likely later in the season, especially after what he showed he could do in Cactus League games this spring. Walters might be a long shot, but he’s earned the benefit of the doubt. He was only drafted last year, selected with the No. 62 overall pick, and the Guardians rarely move players through the system that quickly. But his stuff is so good that if he performs well in Double-A Akron, moves to Triple-A Columbus and continues to deal, he may be on the big league team’s radar come September.

Any chance that Bieber will be signed to an extension? -- @Jackalope44

A few weeks ago, this answer would’ve been a firm no. Now, anything is possible. Because Bieber is going to be out for the next year-plus, he could become more affordable for the Guardians. It’s definitely not off the table.

Are extensions off the table until the offseason, or is there hope something could get done with Naylor and Steven Kwan? -- @phutatorius

Just given how the Guardians have operated in the past, the team usually shuts these conversations down once the season begins.

Who is your first positional player callup candidate from Triple-A? Daniel Schneemann? Myles Straw? Kyle Manzardo? -- @ValeraSZN

Manzardo will probably be the first player called up, but Schneemann will probably get in the mix at some point this season. He left a tremendous impression on the coaching staff this spring. Straw will have to prove he’s made strides offensively.