Welcome to the latest edition of the Guardians newsletter. I’m Mandy Bell, and I’m beginning my sixth season covering Cleveland for MLB.com. I’m excited to once again deliver these newsletters straight to your inbox each week. Let’s get into the good stuff:
With less than one week until Spring Training begins, let’s take one last look at your offseason questions in another Guardians Inbox:
Are any positions truly up for grabs? If so, which ones? --@FranmilsEyebrow
Maybe some that seem like they are, really aren’t. For example: shortstop. The storyline is that the Guardians haven’t figured out who their starting shortstop will be, but it would be truly surprising if they gave someone other than
Gabriel Arias the first chance to earn the job. Still, all the other middle infielders will be evaluated closely to determine what the next options could be. I wouldn’t say Arias is a lock, by any means, but I don’t think the position is completely up for grabs, either.
Center field is similar. Myles Straw probably will be the starter on Opening Day, and the Guardians can react later if that’s not working.
The closest to up for grabs that we can get right now is probably right field. Ramón Laureano might get the majority of the reps there. He could platoon with Will Brennan. But the Guardians have Estevan Florial, George Valera and Johnathan Rodriguez to look at, too. The team needs hitters, and maybe the younger options can prove that they deserve a chance right away.
Finally, the last two spots in the bullpen probably are up in the air. Carlos Carrasco and Xzavion Curry likely are looking at a battle for a long-relief role. James Karinchak will have to prove he can earn the trust back to command the strike zone at the Major League level, considering the Guardians have a handful of other relievers competing for a spot.
How much playing time can we expect Straw to get this season? -- @PurpleHatKid
It seems safest to assume that he’ll get the first crack at demonstrating that his work over the offseason can pay off, but manager
Stephen Vogt mentioned at the Winter Meetings that they’ll be looking at all center-field options.
“We'd love to see him in center field,” Vogt said. “We also have some other options. So we're going to see what happens when we get to Spring Training. And I'm excited to see, have a little competition during camp, and we'll see where we go from there.”
What’s the likelihood of Kyle Manzardo making the Opening Day roster? -- @Cle_Guardian22
Do you see Deyvison De Los Santos on the Opening Day roster? -- @Michael45871618
Let’s put these questions together, because they really play off of one another.
Starting with De Los Santos, it’s difficult to believe the Guardians would have selected him in the Rule 5 Draft if they were going to try to determine in just six short weeks whether the 20-year-old corner infielder could pan out over the next few seasons. However, keeping him on the Opening Day roster doesn’t make a tremendous amount of sense, either, considering he never has played above Double-A and is so young. Determining what the Guardians will do with De Los Santos impacts their decision with Manzardo.
Manzardo is ready for the big leagues and showed at the end of last season and in the Arizona Fall League that his bat could bring some much-needed life to the middle of the Guardians’ order. But if De Los Santos and Josh Naylor are on the roster, does it make sense to carry a third first baseman? Maybe Naylor and Manzardo could go back and forth between first and DH, but De Los Santos still needs to develop this season and being behind two first basemen and
José Ramírez at third base leaves little playing time for him.
My answer will change a million times before camp is over, but for now, let’s go with De Los Santos making the Opening Day roster and Manzardo starting the year in Triple-A Columbus.
What’s the best time to visit Goodyear? --
It depends on what you’re looking for. The first week of Spring Training is fun to see the players do extra work on the practice fields since there are no games. The early weeks of camp are better for hiking, too, since the temperatures are cooler. But if you’re looking for Cactus League play with starters in the lineup for most of the game, come toward the end of the six-week stay in Arizona.
The Guardians announced their 2024 promotional schedule on Tuesday morning, which included plans to host their team Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Aug. 3 and a postgame concert with DJ Diesel (aka Shaquille O’Neal) on June 22. Single-game tickets will go on sale on Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. ET.
The team also listed its upcoming fan giveaways. Here’s a brief look at some of the highlights:
• April 8: Magnet schedule and car magnet (all fans)
• May 18: José Ramírez bobblehead (12,500 fans)
• June 1: Steven Kwan jersey (15,000 fans)
• June 19: Tote bag (10,000 fans)
• June 22: Josh Naylor bobblehead (15,000 fans)
• July 3: Hawaiian shirt (15,000 fans)
• July 6: Triston McKenzie bobblehead (15,000 fans)
• July 20: Bo Naylor jersey (15,000 fans)
• July 25: Beach towel (10,000 fans)
• Aug. 3: Guardians Hall of Fame bobblehead (15,000 fans)
• Aug. 31: Andrés Giménez jersey (12,500 fans)
• Sept. 14: Lightweight hoodie (10,000 fans)
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