After taking last week off for the 2022 NFL Draft, Right Down Euclid is back again with some key Cleveland Guardians takeaways. Mind you, there's been a lot to unpack over the last two weeks since we checked in. Two weeks ago, the Guardians were above .500 and had some of the hottest bats in baseball. Well, despite rookie Steven Kwan winning AL Rookie of the Month for April and superstar Jose Ramirez winning AL Player of the Month, Cleveland has gone 4-7, struggling to keep up some teams offensively on a lengthy road trip.
Thankfully, other than Kwan and Ramirez, the Guardians may have found another offensive spark in Andres Gimenez, who Cleveland manager Terry Francona described as "dangerous" at the plate. In this week's edition of key takeaways, we'll talk about that as well as the Guardians reflecting on the Mike Clevinger trade as well as an update on the prediction for the team's overall record.
On Tuesday, Guardians manager Terry Francona called Cleveland second baseman Andres Gimenez dangerous whenever the slugger is at the base.
“So far, he’s swinging at more strikes,” said Francona. “He’s not chasing the ball out of the zone so much, especially when he lays off that fastball up here. If he brings it down a little bit, he becomes a lot more dangerous.”
When you hear someone described as dangerous, for whatever reason it makes me think of the iconic scene where Austin Powers, played by Mike Myers, is awoken from cryogenesis:
Jokes aside, dangerous is a great way to describe Gimenez as of late. On their 10-game road trip, Gimenez hit .367 (11-for-30) with a double, triple, grand slam and eight RBI's. Gimenez has the highest batting average on the team and has tied with superstar Jose Ramirez for RBI as well. On the season, Gimenez is hitting .346 with two homers, 12 RBI and a .929 OPS in 19 games this season. Last year after 19 games with Cleveland, Gimenez was hitting .200 (17-for-55) with two homers, four RBI and a .636 OPS.
Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for Gimenez this season. For now, he's earned minutes in Cleveland's rotation going forward. In their three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, Gimenez started at shortstop for the Guardians as Francona elected to rest Amed Rosario with a sore left wrist. He hit .429 (6-for-14) with one homer and six RBI over that span.
In Wednesday's doubleheader against the San Diego Padres, Gimenez was starting at second base with Rosario back at shortstop. Gimenez cooled off against the Padres but, give him time to find his groove again. With Franmil Reyes disappearing on offense, Gimenez's emergence is a beacon in the night for the Guardians offensively. It's definitely something worth watching going forward.
Wednesday's doubleheader between the Guardians and the Padres was somewhat akin to the meme where Spider-Man is pointing at Spider-Man. Back in 2020, Cleveland traded pitcher Mike Clevinger, outfielder Greg Allen and pitcher Matt Waldron to San Diego for pitcher Cal Quantrill, catcher Austin Hedges, shortstop Gabriel Arias, infielder Owen Miller, outfielder Josh Naylor, and left-handed pitcher Joey Cantillo.
Waldron is currently with the San Antonio Missions, the Padres’ Double-A affiliate, where he boasts a 5.03 ERA through his first four starts of the season. San Diego released Allen at the conclusion of the 2020 season and he now calls Pittsburgh home, though he has yet to make a plate appearance for the Pirates after ending up on the 60-day injured list with a hamstring strain.
Clevinger, meanwhile, made three starts for San Diego in 2020 before dealing with a nagging elbow injury that ultimately ended up with him getting Tommy John surgery. The former Guardian and new Padre missed all of 2021 but, made his return to the diamond at Progressive Field this week. He had a solid return throwing four strikes and four walks and only allowed four hits and one earned run in 95 pitches over nearly four innings. Again, it was a solid debut for Clevinger but he isn't out of the woods completely yet as his surgery recovery is a long and arduous process. So, for now, it remains to be seen what San Diego got back in what is considered by some a blockbuster trade.
For Cleveland, meanwhile, this trade has given them the building blocks for their future. Of the six players received in exchange for Clevinger, Allen, and Waldron, four of them are starters on the Guardians, and one is in waiting to join the Cleveland full-time. Quantrill was one of the best starting pitchers in baseball during the second half of 2021 and has settled in nicely with the Guardians. Miller, meanwhile, is one of Cleveland's hottest hitters, Naylor has become an everyday starter and Hedges has become reliable behind home plate. Finally, with Arias, his time will come but he is one of Cleveland's top overall prospects.
So, for now, it looks like the Guardians have fleeced the Padres in the now infamous Clevinger trade. Again, it all depends on how the Sunshine shines in San Diego long-term post-surgery. But, with how Cleveland is set up nicely long-term, it's hard not to say the Guardians won this trade overall. Sure, the Padres are competing right now but, with how uncertain sports are that can be fast fleeting. Cleveland having long-term stability might be more worth it in the end.
Every now and then, we'll check in on the Guardians and how they'll fare over the remainder of the season. After a brutal road trip and struggling in their double-header against San Diego, Cleveland is now 10-12 and in second place in the AL Central, four games behind the division-leading Minnesota Twins. With that said, it's time to update their final record prediction as well as their chances of making the playoffs and winning the division overall.
Final record prediction: 81-81
Chance to make the playoffs: 24%
Chance to win AL Central: 13%
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Email him at email@example.com. Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!