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Indians final spring roster moves; Kazmir named fifth starter

Indians final spring roster moves; Kazmir named fifth starter
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
March 25, 2013
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The Cleveland Indians have issued several roster moves that will set up their roster for the start of the 2013 season:

  • They released right-handed relief pitcher Matt Capps from his minor league contract.
  • They optioned Catcher Yan Gomes to Triple A Columbus.
  • They optioned Infiedler Cord Phelps to Triple-A Columbus.
  • They purchased Jason Giambi's contract from Triple-A Columbus, then placed him on the 15-day Major Leage DL with a lower back strain. He'll be eligible to be activated on April 9th.
  • They placed right handed relief pitcher Frank Herrmann on the 60-day DL.
  • The told lefty Nick Hagadone, righty Bryan Shaw and utility player Ryan Raburn that they will open the year on the 25-man roster, barring injury.
  • LHP Scott Kazmir will be added to the Indians 25-man roster prior to his first scheduled start on April 6th in Tampa. He is the fifth starter. He will overlap with Carlos Carrasco though, so it will be interesting to see how the Indians handle that situation during the first week of the season. Perhaps that's why only 23 names have been listed so far.
  • Carlos Carrasco will start the year off on the 25-man roster, and will spend the first six games of the season serving his six-game suspension.
  • UPDATE:  Rich Hill and Matt Albers have made the team, round out the 25-man rotation. They will officially have eight pitchers in the pen, but will only have 12 pitchers overall while Carrasco serves his suspension.

Two names that weren't listed but I assumed would make the 25-man roster were Rich Hill and Matt Albers. Hill seems like a lock, since the Indians added him to the 40-man roster just over a week ago. Matt Albers seems like a lock as well, which would round out the 25-man.

Three other names that weren't mentioned that were question marks with regards to the roster and their future with the club are IF/OF Chris McGuiness, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and lefty David Huff.

When Giambi does come off the DL, it's likely that Shaw is sent back down to the minors, as he has options left. Of course, these things tend to work themselves out, and three weeks can be a lifetime in the big leagues.

Perhaps the scenario is that Shaw goes down when Kazmir comes up. He may never leave the club, and stay up for when Carrasco gets sent down. He'll then stay up until Giambi comes off the DL, and then officially gets sent down after the ninth, depending on when Giambi is ready. My hunch is he'll be ready on the ninth. Just a hunch.

Matt Capps appears to be in a similar position as Daisuke Matsuzaka. It's being reported that both will be given new contracts and will eventually make their way to Columbus for the start of the season. Both will likely have opt-out dates added to a new contract that will save the Indians from paying a $100,000 retention bonus, but will ultimately give both players some guaranteed money. It's possible that both players could sign elsewhere if a deal isn't worked out.

Stay tuned to the IBI as the week progresses, and more announcements are made.


Position  Player
Catcher  Carlos Santana
First Base  Nick Swisher
Second Base  Jason Kipnis
Third Base  Lonnie Chisenhall
Shortstop  Asdrubal Cabrera
Left Field  Michael Brantley
Right Field  Drew Stubbs
Center Field  Michael Bourn
Designated Hitter  Mark Reynolds
SP1  Justin Masterson
SP2  Ubaldo Jimenez
SP3  Brett Myers
SP4  Zach McAllister
SP5 Carlos Carrasco (suspended)/Scott Kazmir
Closer  Chris Perez
Main Set-UP  Vinnie Pestano
RPRH  Cody Allen
RPRH  Bryan Shaw
RPLF Nick Hagadone
RPRH Matt Albers
RPLH Rich Hill
RPRH  Joe Smith
Utility  Mike Aviles
Backup Catcher Lou Marson
Utility  Ryan Raburn
DH/DL Jason Giambi

Chris McGuiness
Out: David Huff

Ezequiel Carrera

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

User Comments

March 26, 2013 - 11:55 AM EDT
yeah, I was just talking about the first few games sans Giambi. Not having that extra bench bat for those few days will restrict what they can do. I would suspect if it were Acta, he would have gone for the extra bat before Kazmir's rostered, rather than the extra pen arm, as Acta was into matchups and platoon advantage. Francona maybe wouldn't do something like pinch hit for Stubbs anyway.
March 26, 2013 - 10:07 AM EDT
The Indians will have Giambi as their LH pinch hitting bat or to sit other players against rough righties. If he struggles, then I guess you could see Phelps up - though he is a switch hitter. There really are no left-handed options.....Carrera is just so limited as a player and I'd rather have Drew Stubbs bat than Carerra, even in a rough righty on righty situation.
March 26, 2013 - 10:01 AM EDT
If I were in Francona's shoes I'd have preferred a left handed bench bat, especially with Stubbs, one of the worst hitters in baseball against RHP, on the team. Just the option to pinch hit would be nice.
March 26, 2013 - 2:11 AM EDT
Jake, from what I understand Kazmir has an opt out on April 2nd.....however, knowing he is on the team, this is obviously a case where they talked to them and he is helping them out to circumvent the carrasco suspension.

Seth, actually, the extra pen arm is more useful/valuable in the early part of the season. Team's rarely use their bench the first week in order to get their starters into the routine of the season. But pitchers can be used much more, so if you are going to use that last roster spot on a bench player or pen guy, the pen guy makes more sense, especially with the Indians since they are so versatile.
March 25, 2013 - 11:25 PM EDT
So my question is if they have 25 guys on the roster with carrasco serving out his suspension, then giambi on the can they keep Kazmir in limbo for the 4 days before his start. Doesnt he have to be either on the 25 man roster, on the dl, sent to the minors, or cut by opening day?
Aussie Tribe
March 25, 2013 - 10:18 PM EDT
So my thinking is pretty close then Tony, though I still reckon
Will be Allen & not Shaw.

March 25, 2013 - 9:21 PM EDT
I don't think it's a big deal or anything mountainous, it's just an odd choice to me in that they should have no need to have 8 relievers on the roster for the first 4 days of the season when everyone's fresh, even if they played some 18-inning marathon. I would think having someone like Cord Phelps for those 4 days would be more valuable and would make more sense. Not having that bench bat could conceivably be a problem in those games. You are free to think that having 8 relief pitchers is not weird though.
March 25, 2013 - 9:13 PM EDT
To fulfill suspension, Carrasco has to be on 25-man through April 7 so can't be optioned out brilliant April 8. Giambi is eligible to come off DL on April 9. So a one day lag. I expect carrasco to remain with the team until April 9 when they activate Giambi the same day. Carrasco could be an emergency arm on April 8 if need be.

Kazmir addition will require Shaw be optioned out. Don't need to bring him back unless an injury occurs.
March 25, 2013 - 8:37 PM EDT
No...there's something more to it than that...or maybe not...

Either's the first two freakin' weeks of the season...and we're talking about managing the last two spots on the roster...

They need arms, so they'll likely make sure it's an arm that they keep up...or move down...

Maybe not...

Mountain out of a mole hill...but hardly strange...
Aussie Tribe
March 25, 2013 - 8:31 PM EDT
Think your on to it Seth.
When Kazmir is added, reliever gets sent down
Giambi is added when Carrasco serves his 6 then sent down.
Thats how I read into it anyway.

March 25, 2013 - 8:21 PM EDT
If a player is optioned out he can't be recalled for 10 days. So that's why I find it to be an odd choice. Doesn't seem worth it to keep a pitcher they don't need for 4 days just to send him down, and then be unable to recall that guy to replace Carrasco. I guess Carrasco just sticks around as an extra arm until Giambi's activated.
March 25, 2013 - 7:53 PM EDT

I don't think it matters. I think you can catch teams off balance on occasion, but I'm sure there are teams scouring the Indians right now...knowing they added a bunch...and had to lose some players that can play a role on certain clubs...

They may sneak through, but if I'm either's agent...I'm telling them to find somewhere else to go...
March 25, 2013 - 7:52 PM EDT

I think Allen has a legit chance at getting sent down. I think Francona wants to see if he's pushing to make the club...and he'll settle when the season starts. Now, he has a two week window to see if that's true. If it's not, and he is WILL see Allen get sent down...IMO...
March 25, 2013 - 7:50 PM EDT
Phelps will be with the team, in a regular some point. My hope is that Raburn wants to burn Detroit for dumping him and plays well all year...but if he falters...Phelps is now next in line...

last year...with a crap team...Acta never sniffed him...didn't know what to do with him...IMO...he's a Francona guy...he'll now get his shot...
March 25, 2013 - 7:50 PM EDT
whoops DFA
March 25, 2013 - 7:49 PM EDT
Zeke and Huff are what they are. They aren't going to get better, and as much as I like them, they don't really fit on this team. The 25th spot...Zeke is redundant at this point...and Huff is the fourth best lefty in the pen...

and the ninth (or worst) best starter on a below-average staff...they aren't losing a thing...
March 25, 2013 - 7:48 PM EDT
I'm curous: when trying to pass players through waivers (Carrera, Huff) are teams typically more successful sending them through early before other teams are ready to make their own decisions, or wait until the last minute and hope DAFed players from other teams take precedence?
March 25, 2013 - 7:47 PM EDT
Seth, baseball transactions are's the nature of the beast...I can think of ten off the top of my head from last year that make what you just described passive. It's not four days...depending on how this all shakes out...and there's still some room for debate...

Shaw breaks with the club until the sixth, then is sent down. He remains with the club for two days, then is "called up" when Carrasco is officially sent down on April eighth. Shaw then never actually sent anywhere...and only misses two games. Hell, he may not even pitch those days either. They can gas him on Friday if they relievers, then let him rest for the weekend. Then he stays with the club until the ninth..if that's when they really bring up Giambi, or keep Shaw on the roster until the 15th, on their off-day. It may not even be Shaw that they send down...

That's not even close to being odd...just roster management...
Aussie Tribe
March 25, 2013 - 7:46 PM EDT
Sorry, 1 more.
Any chance that when the merry go round starts after CC has served his 6 days that Shaw stays up and C.Allen sent to AAA?
Allen just seems to be struggling a bit this spring and Shaw anything but.

Aussie Tribe
March 25, 2013 - 7:43 PM EDT
Kinda fell sorry for Phelps. Any year of the last 5 and he breaks camp with the team but if Raburn falters....See what happens when FO finally brings in some talent in the off season (insert A.Cunningham)
I do like Zek & Huff, but guess I like all Indians & they are what they are. Guess the rule for options is working, hope we get something for them and they have success where ever they land.

March 25, 2013 - 7:12 PM EDT
So, they are going to have one of the relievers on the roster for 4 days and then option them to Columbus when Kazmir's added, I take it. Weird.
March 25, 2013 - 7:05 PM EDT
A month ago when the Indians announced the signing of Giambi I laughed and considered it their only questionable move of the offseason. Now? My tune has changed significantly. Just being around the team and organization the last week and seeing how much he impacts a locker room, is a teacher, and may still be productive in the limited role he will have.....I am all for it. He's the 25th guy on the roster and essentially a player-coach. He won't play a lot. I'd rather a player like him who has some value in such a role be on this team than bury a guy like Phelps/Gomes on the roster to rot when they can play everyday in AAA. Giambi will really help take some of the leadership burden off Swisher, and really be a good bridge to the players with Francona. I've talked to so many players that have been so impressed with him.....that for now I am willing to take the Indians word on this and see how things go.
March 25, 2013 - 6:54 PM EDT
Jim- I'm a firm believer in culture. I have seen first hand what it did out here w the Giants- there are a half dozen teams at least with more ability- but the Giants have played and won as one culture- and that includes not only the players but the batboys, equipment managers, broadcasting team, the fans, the owners and office people, the darn peanut vendors, and of course the chief cook, bottle washer and minister of culture Bruce Bochy. Francona is very similar in his approach to life and baseball. If he wants Giambi, who am I to argue.
March 25, 2013 - 6:41 PM EDT
I don't necessarily believe this team needs a Carerra who can pinch run late in the game. If this was last year's team, I would agree with you. All of a sudden, however, this team got a lot faster in the off-season. Bourn, Stubbs... then Kipnis. Cabrera and Brantley are good on the bases. Swisher and Chisenhall are okay. The only two regulars you would genuinely consider pinch running for are Reynolds and Santana, IMO.
March 25, 2013 - 6:34 PM EDT
No Seth, it's only 25...Giambi is on the DL...of course...I do have counting issues...
March 25, 2013 - 6:32 PM EDT
If Carrasco is on the roster, I don't see how Hill and Albers can also be on the roster. That equals 26 players-14 pitchers. Have to think Albers is going to be moved if they have committed to Hagadone and Shaw, unless there's an unannounced injury or Perez isn't going to be ready.

That's an awfully convenient back injury for Giambi to have.
March 25, 2013 - 6:24 PM EDT
It'll be interesting to see how they add these guys to the 40-man roster...
March 25, 2013 - 6:23 PM EDT
Shy...always love your comments...

Do agree with a lot of what you say...

I'll give Francona the benefit of the doubt. He really believes in Giambi...perhaps there's something to him that we don't know about...perhaps a balance...a bit more of a calm version of Swisher...who knows.

Albers and me...are taking up we'll see if they pan out. The funny thing is that Albers is better than Wheeler or Ascencio...or at least the same...and we were stuck with both to start the year off. If he doesn't pan out early...there will be many BETTER than him in the system, and I doubt Francona will hesitate to use them...

He's trying to create a culture here, and Giambi and Albers perhaps can help cultivate that. I'm a firm believer in culture...especially with a team who's culture is losing...

Hmmmm Dungeness...perhaps I need you to send that to Tony via my address...I'll make sure he hears about it...;)
March 25, 2013 - 6:17 PM EDT
Disappointed they burned a roster spot on Giambi. He hit 225 playing half his games in the most hitter friendly park in the majors, with one dinger. And he hit 206 in Spring Training. At 42 you don't expect him to get better. I like the guy, he'd problably make a good coach or manager. McGuinness has to be released- he is not ready to helo the club this year. They seem to like his potential for development, maybe they can make a trade. Carrera- they need a late inning guy who can get on base and pinch run- I hope they find a way to make that work. Albers I don't care about- I don't think they need another mediocre, redundant pitcher and there's 20-30 guys like him generally a phone call away. Gomes, the guy is a player- he's not ready for prime time catching maybe, but he grinds out the at bats with the best of them. I owe Tony some Dungeness. If somebody would be kind enough to print the IPI mailing address, I'll get a box out- and hurry up please, while they're still in season

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