Except for a minor league trade involving Sandy Leon for a prospect (right-hander Ian Hamilton), the Cleveland Guardians have been largely inactive during the trade deadline.
They do have a young team full of promising hitters and some quality pitchers; and are in possession of second place in the AL Central.
With a 53-49, the Guards are just one game behind the Minnesota Twins for the top spot in the division.
They are very much in a playoff race, especially if we remember that the preseason favorites, the Chicago White Sox, are still lurking (three games behind the Twins, two behind the Guardians).
Manager Terry Francona spoke about the direction of the team, according to Ryan Lewis, the Guardians beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal.
“Terry Francona: ‘I like the direction. Are we the finished product? No, we know that. But in the meantime, we’re competing like hell and trying to answer some questions,'” Lewis tweeted, quoting the skipper.
Terry Francona: 'I like the direction. Are we the finished product? No, we know that. But in the meantime, we're competing like hell and trying to answer some questions.'
— Ryan Lewis (@ByRyanLewis) August 2, 2022
The Guards Are Not A Finished Product
Francona understands that the Guards, instead of looking to make a splash at the deadline at this point, are looking more extensively at their own minor league system when looking for roster improvements.
Recently, they have called up young players like Alex Call, Will Benson, Nolan Jones, and others, with the hope of finding an offensive spark and giving them some reps at the highest level.
Many of their best contributors are 26 or younger: Steven Kwan, Owen Miller, Andres Gimenez, Josh Naylor, Amed Rosario, Oscar Gonzalez, Triston McKenzie, Emmanuel Clase, Eli Morgan, Trevor Stephan, Konnor Pilkington, Cal Quantrill, and many more.
That is achieved through patience and a strong player development staff.
In a year or two, the Guards could be the undisputed AL Central kings.
For now, they will be happy with their current core fighting for a playoff spot.
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