Could the Cleveland Guardians be looking ahead to 2024, despite a division race?

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Cleveland Guardians' Gabriel Arias hits a two-run double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

The Cleveland Guardians have been battling with the Minnesota Twins for the lead in the AL Central for most of the season, but the moves they made at the trade deadline seemed to indicate a team that was looking ahead to 2024.Cleveland unloaded starter Aaron Civale to the Rays, shortstop Amed Rosario to the Dodgers and designated hitter Josh Bell to the Marlins. It wasn’t a fire sale by any means, but the Guardians didn’t bolster their pitching rotation or add another bat to the lineup.Taking a look at the odds from FanDuel Sportsbook, it’s clear that oddsmakers weren’t impressed with Cleveland’s trade deadline moves either. In AL Central the Twins are starting to look more and more like a clear favorite at -420. The Guardians are still very much in contention and their +290 odds to win the division could turn out to be of great value if the young Cleveland squad can get hot in the final 50 games of the season. With neither AL Central team an immediate threat in the Wild Card race, it’s safe to say that the +290 odds can also be used as Cleveland’s likelihood of making the postseason in any fashion.The oddsmakers haven’t written off Cleveland’s shot at winning the American League, but at +3500, they are the second-longest shot of the teams still not theoretically eliminated from the playoffs. The Los Angeles Angels are at +4100. The Rays (+320), Astros (+340) and Rangers (+350) are the favorites to win the American League pennant.The Guardians are the longest shot (+10000) to win the World Series among teams that haven’t given up on the season yet. Oddly enough the Angels are just +7500, maybe someone can make sense of that one. The Braves (+300), Dodgers (+440), Rays and Astros (+700 each) are the favorites for the World Series.Some good things are happening in Cleveland, and many revolve around the young pitching staff. Rookie right-handed pitcher Tyler Bibee is having an exceptional season at 7-2 with a 3.14 ERA. With the trade of Civale and the injury to Shane Bieber, it will be on Bibee to carry this staff for his remaining starts. He is among the second tier of favorites for AL Rookie of the Year at +3000.

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