With president Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff jointly in charge of operations since 2016, the Cleveland Guardians have one of the most stable front office teams in the current game.
The Guardians hit the 81-game mark of the 2023 season at 39-42, which doesn’t sound very good … unless you’re in the AL Central. Since the Guardians are in the AL Central, they find themselves only one game out of the division lead and even with the Minnesota Twins in the loss column.
By Guardians standards, this has been a normal first half. A year ago, they were 40-41 (just one game worse) and they went on to win the Central in a breeze. That means it will be interesting to see how the Guardians approach the season’s second half.
Grading the Cleveland Guardians at the midway point of the 2023 season
What follows is a mid-term assessment of the Guardians’ personnel decisions since the conclusion of the 2022 World Series with a particular focus on the extent to which those decisions have helped or hindered the team’s performance.
The standard of measurement is Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by Antonetti and Chernoff impacting the 2023 team gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved (or worsened) the team’s status this season.
A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:
1. By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.
2. By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.
3. By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.
4. By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.
5. By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.
Here’s how Antonetti and Chernoff stack up by those five yardsticks.