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Guardians Youth Ready For 2024 Test

Stephen Vogt embraces Chris Antonetti during his introductory press conference.

With one of the youngest rosters in Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Guardians are set for a new test in 2024.

Following a disappointing season, the Cleveland Guardians are ready to turn the page with their lineup. Not only that, but they will be under new management. With the retirement of Terry Francona, former MLB catcher Stephen Vogt will be taking the reins of the team.

And for the Guardians, this is the time to prove themself in a weak AL Central division.

But the team took a step back in 2023, winning only 76 games and finishing with a bottom-five offense in the American League. For a young team, it’s okay to go through some growing pains. There is still hope, however, for the young core to grow. And their young guys are no slouches, either, from what came of last season.

However, it was still a relatively quiet offseason in the 216. So, what are the expectations looking like for Cleveland in 2024?

Let’s take a more conclusive look ahead to the 2024 slate for the Cleveland Guardians…

Offseason Moves in Brief Discussion

As already discussed, it was a relatively quiet offseason for the Guards. But they are looking to re-tool their roster and get some younger players. They also did add some veteran leadership behind the plate. That, in a way, is a major need for the squad.

Off-Season Additions

SP Ben Lively (originally drafted by the franchise in 2010, signed a one-year, $750,000 contract on Dec. 12, 2023)

C Austin Hedges (Agreed to one-year, $4 million contract on Dec. 15, 2023)

CF Estevan Florial (Acquired in trade from New York Yankees)

RP Scott Barlow (Acquired in trade from San Diego Padres)

3B Deyvison De Los Santos (chosen in Rule 5 Draft from San Diego Padres)

RF Ramon Laureano (re-signed with club in off-season)

SP Carlos Carrasco (agreed to minor league contract, back to where his career started)

C Dom Nuñez (agreed to minor league contract)

SP Jaime Barria (agreed to minor league contract)

Off-Season Subtractions

OF/1B Kole Calhoun (retired)

OF Oscar Gonzalez (claimed by New York Yankees via waivers)

SP Cal Quantrill (traded to Colorado Rockies in exchange for minor league catcher Kody Huff)

SP/RP Lucas Giolito (he signed with Boston in free agency)

RP/SP Reynaldo Lopez (he also left in free agency, signing with Atlanta)

RP Enyel De Los Santos (he was traded to San Diego in exchange for Barlow)

SP/RP Cody Morris (he was traded to the New York Yankees for Florial)

Offseason Grade: C-

This was an okay offseason due to the lack of moves the Guardians made. Sure, bringing back Austin Hedges is a plus to provide some veteran leadership. And, hey, Estevian Florial was a former top prospect in the New York Yankees organization. But losing a guy like Cal Quantrill will certainly hamper the rotation heading into 2024. Meanwhile, Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco is back on the squad, and he is ready to give it one more go in Cleveland.

Overall, this Guardians team is still one that is looking for a true identity. Are they rebuilding? Do they want to go all in? On the whole, it almost seems a bit confusing which way this young roster is going.

Problems Include Consistency and Health

Overall, the 2023 season can be filed under “C” for “Confusing in Cleveland”. They had plenty of young players who showed inconsistencies at the plate. A few notable injuries also struck the team, leading to a 76-win result and third place finish. In the 216, for a team as long-suffering for a World Series trophy as the Guardians, that is just not going to cut it.

While the inconsistencies and health problems are there, another issue is also slowly festering. Who is going to be the everyday shortstop? Ever since the team dealt SS Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets, there is a hole in the middle infield. Last year, it seemed like SS Gabriel Arias occupied a decent chunk of the games as the shortstop, with SS Tyler Freeman being his back-up.

However, with Freeman converting to center field this season, and a couple of intriguing other prospects, it seems as though the shortstop position will be up for grabs again this year.

So how will this affect the team going forward? The approach will be to solidify the middle of the infield and bring a steady partner to 2B Andres Gimenez.

But what does the projection slate look like for the Guardians come March 28?

Cleveland Guardians Opening Day Projections

Starting Lineup

LF Steven Kwan

2B Andres Gimenez

3B Jose Ramirez

1B Josh Naylor

C Bo Naylor

SS Gabriel Arias

CF Myles Straw

RF Will Brennan

DH Tyler Freeman

Bench: RF Ramon Laureano, C Austin Hedges, UTIL David Fry, SS Brayan Rocchio, CF Estevan Florial

Starting Rotation At The Present Time

1 – Shane Bieber (Opening Day starter for fifth consecutive year)

2 – Tanner Bibee

3 – Triston “Sticks” McKenzie

4 – Logan Allen

5 – Ben Lively


LHP Sam Hentges

RHP James Karinchak

RHP Eli Morgan

LHP Tim Herrin

RHP Xzavion Curry

RHP Scott Barlow

CP Emmanuel Clase


Nate Powalie is a contributor for Back Sports Page. A 2022 graduate of Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio), Nate has five years of sports writing experience, and has gotten the chance to call sporting events for radio and live stream. Nate also works as a cashier and can be found on Twitter (@PNate22) and Facebook (Nate Powalie).

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