Indians option Bauer, Kluber and Barnes to Columbus
Kazmir and Hagadone appear to have locks on opening day roster
By Jim Pete
March 21, 2013
The Cleveland Indians announced today that right-handed starters Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber, as well as left-handed reliever Scott Barnes are being optioned to Triple-A Columbus. The Indians have also re-assigned lefty Giovanni Soto to minor league camp. Soto was a non-roster invitee with the Tribe.
The announcement also seems to lock up a spot for Nick Hagadone, who is competing with Rich Hill and Barnes for what’s presumed to be one of two spots in the bullpen for a lefty. Rich Hill was recently added to the 40-man roster, all but guaranteeing his spot. Hagadone, like Kazmir, appears to be the last man standing.
Trevor Bauer made his last start with the Indians on Wednesday, and while it’s clear that his stuff is major league ready, it’s equally clear that he has a ways to go until he learns how to pitch to major league hitters. He’s not far, but he still needs a bit of seasoning. He’ll be back, and sooner, rather than later, and while I think Carrasco will ultimately be the first man to be called up, Bauer could make that scenario extremely interesting if he can continue to grow.
There was a prevalent thought at the beginning of the hot stove season that Corey Kluber had a serious chance to make the team as a starter, or at worst, a long reliever. The Indians, however, made several moves since that made Kluber’s reality a lot more minor league oriented. Kluber could never find the consistency as a starter to make him overtly valuable, and the bullpen is extremely loaded right now. Kluber will make good fill at Columbus as a starter, but will find himself behind a lot of bodies in his path back to Cleveland. I’d be surprised if we ever see him in a Tribe uniform again. If we do, bad things have happened.
Barnes, as I mentioned before, was competing for a lefty bullpen slot, and he seemed a near lock at the beginning of the offseason as well. Rich Hill wasn’t yet signed and Hagadone was on the DL and in the midst of a squabble with the Tribe brass. While Barnes has great stuff, he’s really struggled to make that final step. It will be interesting to see what the Indians do with him going forward. He’s clearly the next guy on call should Hill or Hagadone go down, but his long-term future is still unknown.
Soto is even a greater mystery right now. It’s believed that his long-term future might be in the bullpen as a lefty specialist, but I still think there’s a chance that he could turn into a wily starter that is incredibly effective. Let’s not forget, Soto threw a no-hitter last July, and while he’s not a prototypical starter with regards to velocity, his angles and delivery create havoc for hitters. When he finally slows down, he could be something special.
Here’s the Indians active roster heading into the final weeks of spring:
Here are the non-rosters. Obviously, some of these guys aren't going to be here:
Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.
What makes you say McGuiness can play LF/RF? He's never played either position in his minor league career.
I agree about Chord Phelps in theory but I also think Ryan Raburn makes more sense. I think he is primed for a great year off the bench. I really like his utility, power and ability to hit lefties. This will help protect Kipnis, Chiz and Brantley. Phelps can play everyday at AAA and learn to play some 3B, 1B and LF. I think that will be the key for him. If he can make himself into a utility player I think he will have a good career. I could see him and Yan both being quasi starters for this team for awhile. Next year they could platoon at DH and sub in all over the diamond.
It makes sense to start the year with CC and then send him down and bring Giambi on board. When a pitching change needs to be made they will have CC in waiting. This will also give him time to adjust and back log some innings.
It will be interesting if there is no clear cut rotation spot for Carrasco to fill after a month or two. Do they move to Meyers to the pen and trade Albers? Send McCalister down to AAA to get some more work done? Try and trade Ubaldo for a team in dire need of starting pitching? Move McCalister to the bullpen just for this season? Imagine having McCalister repace Albers in the pen. What a bullpen that would be. Chances are that someone will be hurt or not pulling their weight and Carrasco can just step into their spot. Hopefully we don't need Bauer until the streach run so we can avoid "super 2".
I hope Cord Phelps gets some work at 3B and LF the first few months of the season in Columbus. If he can find a way to be a little more flexible on the defensive side, I'd rather have his bat in Cleveland than Raburn's. He really has looked outstanding this spring and you can tell the coaching staff wants to find a way to get him on the 25-man.
You just never know whats going to happen.
I think Corey Klubers future is out of the bullpen in a role similar to Matt Albers only he will also be able to be the "long man".
Surprised Albers made the roster and think Tito had something to do with it. Makes sense though, gives us a quality innings eater early in the season and allows us to see what we have with the bullpen before turning to young options.
I am fine with Giambi starting the seaon here. If he does not hit at all though and Chord Phelps has a good season in AAA I hope they don't wait too long to make a change. Phelps could be a quality bench bat.