July 18, 2024

Guardians Add Ex-Tigers Strikeout Machine to Bolster Pitching Staff

The Cleveland Guardians have signed starting pitcher Matthew Boyd, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Boyd, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery that cut his 2023 season with the Detroit Tigers short in June, hasn’t pitched this year. Before his surgery, Boyd posted a 5.45 ERA in 15 starts with an ERA+ of 81 but managed 73 strikeouts in 71 innings, averaging 9.3 K/9.

Cleveland is hopeful Boyd can return to his 2019 form when he struck out 238 batters in 185.1 innings with a career-high 11.6 K/9. Though he has shown potential since then, his health has been an issue. Heyman reports that the agreement is contingent on the outcome of a physical, which is particularly crucial given Boyd’s injury history that has affected his last three seasons and delayed his 2024 debut.

Boyd’s talent is evident, and his injury history allows Cleveland to sign him cheaply, making him a low-risk, high-reward player. If he stays healthy and regains his form in the second half of the season, it would be a significant boost for the team.

Guardians Add Pitching Depth for Second Half Push

Leading the AL Central by 7.5 games over the Minnesota Twins and holding the second-best winning percentage in baseball, the Guardians are clear contenders despite serious rotation issues. They lost ace Shane Bieber to Tommy John surgery after just two starts, and outside of solid performances from Tanner Bibee and Ben Lively, the rotation has struggled.

Cleveland is expected to be active buyers at the trade deadline, especially seeking pitching help. Boyd’s addition doesn’t change that but makes sense for the cost-conscious Guardians, who hope he can invigorate their struggling rotation or at least help protect the bullpen with some quality starts.

The team also anticipates the return of promising young righty Gavin Williams, currently rehabbing in Triple-A after missing the entire season so far with a right elbow issue.

Boyd might become a reliable backend starter behind Williams, Bibee, and Lively, or possibly shift to a relief role if Cleveland acquires more starting pitchers at the trade deadline. In 2022, he made 10 bullpen appearances with the Mariners.

Guardians promote Tena; reportedly agree to deal with Boyd

Top starters expected to be available at the trade deadline include the White Sox’s Garrett Crochet, Erick Fedde, and the Tigers’ Jack Flaherty and Tarik Skubal. The question is how much the Guardians are willing to spend. With the fifth-lowest payroll in the majors, Cleveland values its prospects. While Garrett Crochet might be too expensive, some insiders suggest targeting Flaherty, a second-half rental as he becomes a free agent after this season.

The baseball world will watch how the Guardians handle the deadline and prepare for a postseason run. Matthew Boyd is likely just the beginning.

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