CLEVELAND — So who exactly are you rooting for in that home dugout? It’s time to meet your Cleveland Guardians.
They are young. Only two players are older than 30 with nine players on the opening day roster – but not many teams have a top contender to win both the Cy Young and MVP in the American League with a manager who’s won it all.
But how well do we really know the Cleveland Guardians players?
Cleveland carried the youngest offensive roster and youngest pitching staff in baseball last year. While the casual fan may need a lineup card, the diehard fan is questioning the Guardians offseason and their payroll, which is one of the lowest in the league.
They did step up to break the norm to keep the foundation of their lineup by signing Jose Ramirez to the big extension. He’s a fan-favorite and one of the best players in all of baseball.
But other than Ramirez and perhaps Franmil Reyes, this is not a group of household names. Looking at the opening day roster from the team’s first game in Kansas City last week, how many players do you know? Bobby Bradley, Yu Chang, Andres Gimenez, Austin Hedges?
Can Amed Rosario, Myles Staw and Steven Kwan solve their outfield issue?
They do still have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball led by former Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. Throw in Zach Plesac, Cal Quantrill, Aaron Civale along with Triston McKenzie and it’s a rotation that gives you hope if they can stay healthy.
Speaking of that, after two consecutive seasons cut short by health issues – including missing the final 63 games last season – coach Terry Francona is back for his 10th season as Cleveland’s manager. He’s had a winning record in all, making the playoffs five times since 2013. He’s also the franchise’s all-time leader in wins.
Not many are giving this team a shot, but with Francona in the dugout you can never count them out.
The last time the team won a World Series, however, was back in 1948.