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Indians option Bauer, Kluber and Barnes to Columbus

Kazmir and Hagadone appear to have locks on opening day roster

Indians option Bauer, Kluber and Barnes to Columbus
March 21, 2013
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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 all but guarantees the fifth spot in the rotation goes to Scott Kazmir, who is the last man standing, depending on what the Indians plan on doing with Carlos Carrasco.

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:

 

Pitchers  B/T 
32 Matt Albers  L-R 
37 Cody Allen  R-R 
59 Carlos Carrasco  R-R 
50 Nick Hagadone  L-L 
53 Rich Hill  L-L 
31 David Huff  S-L 
30 Ubaldo Jimenez  R-R 
63 Justin Masterson  R-R 
34 Zach McAllister  R-R 
39 Brett Myers  R-R 
54 Chris Perez  R-R 
52 Vinnie Pestano  R-R 
27 Bryan Shaw  S-R 
38 Joe Smith  R-R 
Catchers  B/T 
6 Lou Marson  R-R 
41 Carlos Santana  S-R 
Infielders  B/T 
4 Mike Aviles  R-R 
13 Asdrubal Cabrera  S-R 
8 Lonnie Chisenhall  L-R 
40 Yan Gomes  R-R 
22 Jason Kipnis  L-R 
71 Chris McGuiness  L-L 
46 Cord Phelps  S-R 
12 Mark Reynolds  R-R 
33 Nick Swisher  S-L 
Outfielders  B/T 
24 Michael Bourn  L-R 
23 Michael Brantley  L-L 
1 Ezequiel Carrera  L-L 
11 Drew Stubbs  R-R 

Here are the non-rosters. Obviously, some of these guys aren't going to be here:

#  Pitchers  B/T 
80 Jerry Gil  R-R 
79 Preston Guilmet  R-R 
26 Scott Kazmir  L-L 
78 Matt Langwell  R-R 
58 Joe Martinez  L-R 
57 Fernando Nieve  R-R 
81 Edward Paredes  L-L 
#  Catchers  B/T 
73 Brian Jeroloman  L-R 
77 Roberto Perez  R-R 
68 Omir Santos  R-R 
#  Infielders  B/T 
25 Jason Giambi  L-R 
20 Luis Hernandez  S-R 
7 Matt LaPorta  R-R 
9 Ryan Raburn  R-R 

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 jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

User Comments

Tony
March 21, 2013 - 8:47 PM EDT
A lot of scenarios. Indians still waiting for word on the suspension from MLB. If the Indians do not carry Carrasco as the 13th pitcher, then it looks like Huff would be the 8th guy in the pen as the long man. The bench would be Marson, Aviles and Giambi. Then after a week or two they bring up Phelps and Raburn (both can easily be sent to minors).
Jim
March 21, 2013 - 6:58 PM EDT
Hermida's been reassigned to the minor league camp...
Matt
March 21, 2013 - 6:36 PM EDT
Hermida? Was he cut yet?
Canadian Joe
March 21, 2013 - 5:04 PM EDT
Jwahoo, you may strongly disagree, however I would still like to have a viable left handed option, should Kazmir not work out. Huff certainly isn't. It may all be academic, however, as Bauer and Carrasco would be the first options I would expect, unless something happened very early.
Matthew
March 21, 2013 - 4:33 PM EDT
Andy--

What makes you say McGuiness can play LF/RF? He's never played either position in his minor league career.
Jwahoo
March 21, 2013 - 3:55 PM EDT
@ Candian Joe. I strongly disagree. This is where the team has gone wrong in the past. Just because they are both young lefties does not mean they are gong to be quality starting pitchers. By putting them in the bullpen you play to their strength and minimize their weaknesses. Soto in particular has one great pitch that would make him very effective vs lefties. Instead of having these guys be fringe back of the rotation starters we can turn them into quality back of the bullpen arms. I also really like making your bullpen full of former starters. With Soto and Barnes in the bullpen you have two guys who can either "set up" or be "long man". Having young quality lefties in the bullpen is a commodity as well.

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".
Andy
March 21, 2013 - 3:41 PM EDT
I was a bit surprised to read that Phelps would get some time at 1B during the spring. That can't be good news for McGuiness, especially considering how poorly he has hit so far (small sample size alert). McGuiness can play LF/RF, but that doesn't matter so much if Raburn makes the OD roster.
Jim
March 21, 2013 - 3:08 PM EDT
I think it's possible that Carrasco breaks camp with the Indians as the 13th pitcher to serve his suspension, then send him down. The thinking there is that they have a deal with Giambi to come with the team without a deal, then when Carrasco serves his time, the sign Giambi. Of course, Giambi could simply not make the team...
Mitch
March 21, 2013 - 2:55 PM EDT
What about Carrasco's 6 game suspension? Will he break camp with the Indians, stay there for 6 games, and then get sent down?
Matthew
March 21, 2013 - 2:02 PM EDT
I'm just thrilled the roster has stayed healthy through spring training so far. Hopefully Perez doesn't suffer any setbacks next week and we actually open the season with a fully healthy 25-man roster.

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.
Jwahoo
March 21, 2013 - 1:28 PM EDT
For a pitching staff that is so maligned its nice to know that we have 2 young studs (Carrasco and Bauer,) a quality vet (Dice K) and a young depth starter (Kluber) to help protect and add depth to the roation.

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.
Canadian Joe
March 21, 2013 - 1:03 PM EDT
I still believe Barnes and Soto should be developed as starters. Left handers are a much sought after commodity, and if they cannot make the big club here, they would be good trade material going forward.
Jim
March 21, 2013 - 12:55 PM EDT
Perhaps a freudian slip...yeah...I forgot the NRI
Bugsy
March 21, 2013 - 12:53 PM EDT
Was the Giambino left off your list?

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