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Indians add Hill to roster, make several roster moves

Rich Hill looks to be on opening day roster

Indians add Hill to roster, make several roster moves
March 11, 2013
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On Monday the Indians announced several roster moves, the biggest of which was the addition of left-handed pitcher Rich Hill to the 40-man roster. To make room on the 40-man roster the Indians placed right-handed pitcher Blake Wood on the 60-day disabled list.

The Indians also optioned outfielder Tim Fedroff, left-handed pitcher T.J. House, right-handed pitcher Trey Haley, right-handed pitcher Chen-Chang Lee, and right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar to Triple-A Columbus. The assignment does not mean that is where they will start the season.

Also, the Indians reassigned infielder Matt LaPorta, right-handed pitcherFernando Nieve, and catcher Roberto Perez to minor league camp. As a note, the difference between optioning and reassigning is players on the 40-man roster are optioned while those that are not on the 40-man roster are reassigned.

The Indians also gave outfielder Ben Francisco his unconditional release at his request.

The move to add Hill to the 40-man roster is interesting because now that he is on the 40-man roster he cannot be sent to the minors unless he is designated for assignment, clears waivers, and accepts his assignment. As a non-roster camp invite, the Indians could have sent him to the minors without any issues.

The timing of this move is interesting and they normally would not make such a roster move with so much time left in camp. Just speculating, but it is possible that Hill had a clause in his contract that he had to be added to the 40-man roster by March 11th or he could request to be released. This might also explain the suddent request from Francisco as he may have had the same clause.

In any case, Hill now looks like a shoe-in to be on the opening day roster unless he is injured. His addition to the bullpen locks up four spots with him, Chris PerezVinnie Pestano and Joe Smith.

There are still three open spots which look to be between Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen for one spot, Nick Hagadoneand Scott Barnes for another spot, and David HuffMatt Albers and Matt Capps for another spot. Albers appears to be a shoe-in because of his spot on the 40-man and contract, but there is a possibility he could be dealt in a small trade because of all the right-handed relief options the Indians have and so many teams looking for right-handed relief.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

March 12, 2013 - 8:37 AM EDT
Agree Rich, one of the things that always bugged me about the 2004-2009 teams were how they were never able to really develop their own in-house relievers. Raffy Perez was it, and maybe you could say Jensen Lewis. They always had to waste money on guys like Roberto Hernandez, Aaron Fultz, etc. I like having more young capable arms like they do now.....and more are on the come! I feel for a guy like Langwell who had he been with the org in 04-09 would have maybe been the best reliever in the system and already in the worse than Lewis if you ask me.
March 12, 2013 - 8:15 AM EDT
Man, it's so good to see these young guys like Hagadone, Allen, and Barnes emerging as legitimate big league options. In the very recent past the Indians were signing bottom of the barrel retreads like Chad Durbin, Dan Wheeler, and Jeremy Accardo to fill out the bottom of their bullpen. Not any more. Now it's a battle between young, high-upside guys and some veterans who have been very successful in the past like Capps and Hill.

I had a strong feeling Hill would make the team after the impressive way he finished last year.
March 12, 2013 - 1:20 AM EDT
@Aussie Tribe

Thank you. I recently graduated with a B.A in writing from Ithaca College in upstate NY so maybe I should apply. Obviously I love talking about baseball.

I am glad we can send Capps to the minors. I think he could be a major steal. I hate to just let Huff go but thats probably what will happen. Barnes will pitch here at some point just not sure he starts the season here. Agree he should be kept as a bullpen guy.
March 12, 2013 - 1:09 AM EDT
Barnes is a Major League pitcher. I don't get where it makes sense to bury him in AAA all year as a starter (he'd likely never start in Cleveland this year unless there are a rash of injuries) and waste his potential output as a pen arm in the short term. He can always go back to being a starter later....but I agree in the short term to have him pitch in the bigs out of the pen. The Indians have three options for two spots in such a is a short term need they have to put him in this year.
March 12, 2013 - 12:57 AM EDT
It does seem as though Tribe management is all but giving Hagadone a spot. He's got loads of potential and he's already 27, now's the time to see if he's a major league pitcher.

I know we don't have much lefty relief depth, but with Hill and Hagadone probably making the team, I would like to see Barnes moved back to the rotation in Columbus. If he can be a back of the rotation guy, he would still be much more valuable than if he was in the pen.

Needless to say our SP depth is lacking at the upper minors and after 2014, we'll only have Bauer, Carrasco, McCallister, and Tomlin under contract. Since he's unlikely to have a huge effect on the team this year, we might as well build up his future value.
March 11, 2013 - 10:45 PM EDT
Just for clarification, I expect Albers and Shaw/Allen to primarily pitch in the 6th or earlier innings. Obviously the way things setup it is Smith in the 7th, Pestano in the 8th and Perez in the 9th....but that always won't be the case based on workload, so there are some times I could see Albers or Shaw/Allen in the 7th too. But I expect them to mostly pitch in the 6th inning or later, and only in the 7th inning or later if Smith/Pestano need rest or it is a blowout.

JWahoo, good post. Only correction is Capps can easily be sent to the minors as he is a minor league signing. He has to accept his assignment to Triple-A as per the contract he signed unless he has an early opt out clause like Kazmir that I am not aware of.
March 11, 2013 - 9:09 PM EDT
Don't see much of a point in keeping Huff around myself. He's actually had a career reverse split, though he hasn't been good against either type of batter. 5.28 FIP against LH. 4.77 against RH. Not exactly LOOGY material. He's not exactly young anymore either. He's like 7 months younger than Kazmir.

Really have no idea what they'll get from Albers, but it will probably be no worse than what they get from Huff, and might be significantly better. Albers certainly has some weird numbers in his career. Struck out 9.4/9 with the Red Sox in 2011 with a 6.6% swinging strike rate, and struck out 6.56/9 last year with an 8.5% swinging strike rate.

It's also amusing how his b-ref and fangraphs WAR numbers have such different views about when he was good and when he was bad. In 2011 he was worth -0.1 according to b-ref, but 0.5 at fangraphs (due mostly to that oddly high k rate). In 2012, he was worth 1.1 at b-ref, but -0.1 at fangraphs.
Aussie Tribe
March 11, 2013 - 8:39 PM EDT
Great comments Jwahoo, are you auditioning for a job at IBI ?
I also just found out that Capps pitched in a B game today so my post earlier now becomes useless lol.
March 11, 2013 - 8:03 PM EDT
I think if healthy Hill could still pitch 2 innings at a time if needed. The main thing with him is we without question need someone in the bullpen who can get lefties out on a consestent basis. I believe Hill is the man for that job.

Lets take a look at the rest of the pen.

Perez-Smith-Pestano-Hill seem to all be locks for the opening day staff.

I think Nick Hagadone is almost a lock if he continues to pitch well. He is a power lefty who could be a fixture in the bullpen for years to come. They want him to win the spot.

All of a sudden thats 5 guy and we only have 2 open spots.

We still have Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw, Matt Capps, Cody Allen, Scott Barnes and David Huff as options.

I believe Albers will be dealt if we can get something of value for him. If not then I would assume Albers and Capps start the year in the pen. Why? Because they are both vets and can't be sent to the minors as easy. Shaw, Allen and Barnes still have options and can be finished off with a little more time in the minors.

Which brings us to David Huff. He does not have options and you hate to see a young talented lefty run out of time. I think he could find success in a move to the bullpen. Where he could basically fill a "utility role" as a loogy, long man and set up guy.

So, if Albers is dealt and Huff pitches well I think he could make the team as the "long man". It would also be nice to have yet another lefty in the pen to even out the rotation.

They could also deal both Albers and Huff and let Allen and Shaw compete for the final spot. I think Allen might benefit more from some time in the minors as Shaw has aleady had a good year and a half in the majors.

I think thats basically what we are looking at as long as no one gets hurt. It will be nice to have a possible trio of Allen, Shaw and Barnes waiting in the minors as depth should anything go wrong in the pen. I think the three of them form an important part of the bullpen going forward beyond this year. It just makes sense to start off with the guys without options and see how it goes and then make a move. No question we should have a dominate pen that should help make up for a weak rotation.
other Andy
March 11, 2013 - 7:49 PM EDT
The comment that Albers would be a 4th-6th inning guy makes me feel a lot better. For some reason I had it in my head that he'd be a Joe Smith-type in the later innings. His peripherals make me as nervous as sister Mary Katherine Gallagher.
Aussie Tribe
March 11, 2013 - 7:40 PM EDT
Think the great thing is of the 7 RP'S going for the last 3 spots, I wouldn't be upset with any of them making the team. Has Cappa pitched lately? Dont remember seeing him in a bx score for awhile.
March 11, 2013 - 2:34 PM EDT
Yes, which is why although Albers appears to be close to a shoe-in....I think he is eventually dealt this spring and Huff takes the long man spot.
March 11, 2013 - 2:31 PM EDT
I agree that a traditional long man is not needed these days, but we have to remember what Cleveland's rotation did last year. Now I don't think there's any way they could be that bad again, but if they are, a long man may be needed more for Cleveland than it would be for other teams. But yeah, I agree with you.
March 11, 2013 - 2:26 PM EDT
I don't believe a traditional long man is needed nowadays as teams have a 7-man bullpen.....something which was never really the case 5-10 years ago. Shoot back in the early 2000s, teams usually had 6 pen guys.....but with the addition of an extra pen guy you really don't need a guy to go 3-4 innings. It is more a luxury than a need. I would think Albers/Shaw would be the long men pitching in the 4th-6th innings.
March 11, 2013 - 2:20 PM EDT
If Huff doesn't make team and say Hill, Hagadone, and Shaw make it with Perez, Pestano, Smith, and Albers/Capps, who is the long man? I know Hill used to be a starter, but has had injury issues. Hagadone also use to be a starting prospect, but it probably better in a short relief role. So who's the guy to go 3 or so innings?

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