Inbox: What should Guardians do at Deadline?

July 2nd, 2023

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.

You have questions, and I (hopefully) have answers.

Let’s get into fan questions about the Guardians in this week’s Inbox:

If you are the Guardians at the Trade Deadline, what do you do? Sell? Buy? Little of both? --@RealShawnExotic

The best answer seems to be a little of both. It’s the art they’ve mastered over the last few years. They find ways to unload some of their biggest names but also get a lot of talent in return.

Pure sell mode would mean they’re out of contention this year. But because the AL Central has been so weak, the title will likely be within reach no matter what. That means selling probably won’t be on the table.

To be buyers and get a big-named player would likely mean tapping into their farm system. After going years without really doing that, it would be surprising to see them shift gears now, especially since most are Major League ready (or close to it). Aside from their surplus of middle infielders, they probably want to hang on to the depth they currently have at other positions, unless they can get their hands on someone they believe will be the difference in making a huge push in the postseason.

This is why doing a little bit of both is probably the way to go, if they make moves at the deadline. will be talked about countless times throughout July. He could bring back a decent return, but Cleveland would also lose the right-hander who’s been the club’s ace the last few seasons.

Trade Bieber for a bat or an arm? --@ChrisLumpp

If it happens, why not both?

The bigger focus should be on a bat, but it would certainly help the Guardians if they could get a decent pitcher in that package, as well. They'd otherwise be relying on three rookie starters handling a heavy workload to get them through the second half of the regular season (and possibly the playoffs). It’ll be a big ask to have them go every five days and eat up a bunch of innings. If Bieber is gone and Triston McKenzie is still on the injured list, the Guardians will need some reinforcements to help Aaron Civale and Cal Quantrill do the heavy lifting.

When do you think George Valera will get the call? --@CLE_Brendan52

Valera is Cleveland’s No. 2 prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline. Coming into the year, it was easy to imagine he’d receive his first call to the big leagues by the end of the season. But he dealt with a right wrist injury at the start of the season and injured his hamstring after returning. I asked Guardians manager Terry Francona on Tuesday about the reports on Valera, and his answer indicated that they want him to get plenty more at-bats in Triple-A.

“It’s been an interrupted year for him,” Francona said. “Young guys, you want them to get as many reps as they can. Even when they struggle, the reps are good for them and he’s missed out on a lot of that.”

Oscar Gonzalez in the plans to get a callup soon? [Gabriel] Arias is struggling so bad. --@truthtakes

Arias has had a difficult time. And with Will Brennan as hot as he’s been, the Guardians haven’t felt the need to force Arias into the lineup in right field as often as they had. Last week, Gonzalez hit for the cycle, which started a three-day span in which he went 11-for-14 (.786) with three doubles, two homers and six RBIs. Prior to that, he had gone 2-for-19 (.105). The Guardians want to see that more consistently before calling him back up to try to readjust to Major League pitching.

That’s not to say he won’t come up again this season. But it probably won’t be in the immediate future.

Do we have any chance at all in having anyone going to the ASG this year? --@snoopster47

Every team will have at least one representative at the All-Star Game in Seattle. The Guardians do not have any finalists to be a starter, but they’ll have at least one reserve.

Emmanuel Clase, who leads the Majors in saves, is probably a lock, and José Ramírez and Josh Naylor are also candidates. We’ll know for sure at 5:30 p.m. ET tonight on ESPN, when the full rosters get announced.