3 Players the Guardians Need to Sign When Free Agency Opens on Thursday
The Cleveland Guardians were the youngest team in baseball this past season and also owned the third-lowest payroll in the league. That didn't matter, though, as manager Terry Francona's squad took home the AL Central title with a 92-70 record before pushing the New York Yankees to the limit in the ALDS.
Cleveland fans have a lot to look forward to in 2023 and expectations could rise if the front office decides to go all-in. Adding a few big names to support Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber would take this team to another level. Here's a look at three players the Guardians need to sign in free agency.
Cleveland Guardians Free Agency
1. Tyler Anderson, SP
The Guardians battled throughout the postseason without a left-handed starting pitcher to lean on. None of the five projected starters next year are left-handed, either. It's a glaring weak spot that the front office can immediately fix with the addition of veteran Tyler Anderson. Anderson thrived with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022, making his first All-Star team and going 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP over a career-high 178 2/3 innings. With Anderson's expected market value below $14 million, Cleveland could easily sign Anderson to a multi-year deal and lock him in as the team's No. 3 or No. 4 starter.
2. J.D. Martinez, DH
It's worth noting that Cleveland smacked just 127 home runs this past season, which was the second-lowest total in baseball. Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor were the only players on the roster to hit more than 17 long balls, so this lineup could definitely use a power boost. J.D. Martinez is a name to keep an eye on here after clubbing 44 home runs with 85 doubles over the last two seasons combined, both of which were All-Star campaigns for the right-handed slugger. Sliding Martinez behind Ramirez in the lineup would give the latter some protection and form a dangerous 1-2 punch in the middle of the batting order.
3. Willson Contreras, C
Like Martinez, Willson Contreras would bring some much-needed power to this lineup. More importantly, he would bring excitement to a position that sorely lacks it in Cleveland. Veteran Austin Hedges is a free agent now, which leaves the Guardians with only Luke Maile and Bo Naylor to man the plate. Contreras has topped 20 home runs in four of the last six seasons and is coming off his third All-Star appearance with the Chicago Cubs. Signing Contreras would be an expensive move, but it would likely be worthwhile.
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