Indians add Hill to roster, make several roster moves
Rich Hill looks to be on opening day roster
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.
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 Huff, Matt 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.
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I had a strong feeling Hill would make the team after the impressive way he finished last year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I also just found out that Capps pitched in a B game today so my post earlier now becomes useless lol.
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.