Antonetti and Chernoff: Grading the Cleveland Guardians front office at season’s midway point

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Former Guardian Will Benson may be a rising star in Cincinnati. Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired or traded

Antonetti and Chernoff could hardly have been less active in their pursuit of other teams’ talent. Since the end of the 2022 postseason, they have not acquired a single major league player via trade, waiver claim or purchase, and they’ve lost only two via the same methods.

One of the moves may be regretted before long; the other is likely to be forgotten by nightfall.

The departures were outfielder Will Benson at season’s start and reliever Touki Toussaint just this week. The Benson decision has by far the more likely long-term implications.

Benson was sent to Cincinnati in mid-April for a pair of minor leaguers. At the time, the deal looked like a case of Antonetti and Chernoff doing a favor to a kid who had little chance of making his mark in their outfield. Keep in mind that the Guardians were coming off a 2022 season in which Steven Kwan, Myles Straw and Oscar Gonzalez — all of them 27 or younger — gave every indication of having settled in for the long haul.

Benson started slowly in Cincinnati. But with an athletic 6-foot-5, 230-pound body his potential was obvious, and in June it began to show. Since June 1, he’s hit .369 with four three-hit games, his fourth three-hit game coming Saturday.

Benson hasn’t done quite enough to make the Guardians regret that trade already, but he’s trying.

Toussaint is a journeyman reliever who tried to make it with Atlanta and the Angels before being signed by Antonetti and Chernoff as a free agent in January. He only worked four innings, and two weeks ago Cleveland waived him to the White Sox. Unlike Benson, Toussaint is does not appear to be in the process of showing people that he belongs in the majors long-term.

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