Josh Naylor has become quite a force at the plate for the Cleveland Guardians.
He hit 28 doubles and 20 home runs in 2022, and accumulated 31 two-baggers and 17 round-trippers last year with 97 RBI.
He also took his OPS all the way to .842 in 2023, which is amazing since his 2022 mark was .771.
Unfortunately for the Guardians, he is also inching closer to free agency.
Naylor has accumulated four service-time years, which means he will hit the market after the 2025 campaign.
Many fans have been clamoring for the organization to extend him, but they don’t always lock up their top young talent before a contract is up.
Look at Shane Bieber, for example.
Other stars were traded as they approached free agency.
Cleveland would be smart to entertain an extension, though, because they simply don’t have many hitters like Naylor.
What does the player think?
He made it clear that he loves Cleveland, but didn’t really say much, per Paul Hoynes via La Mole on Twitter.
Josh Naylor’s response when asked about a possible contract extension this spring:
— La Mole (@FranmilsEyebrow) January 21, 2024
He basically said the ball is in the Guardians’ court.
He said, per team insider Paul Hoynes, that he “is going to leave that to them” and that he will see “what God has planned” for him.
Apart from Jose Ramirez, Naylor is currently the only reliable source of power the lineup has.
His brother Bo has a chance to become another one, but for now, that’s the reality.
Cleveland can’t afford to lose him.
People might think Naylor offers zero defensive and baserunning value, but he is a good first baseman (he had 5 Outs Above Average) and actually stole 10 bases in limited time in 2023.
He could score a nice contract.
Will the Guardians be the ones signing that document?