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Storylines: Indians begin to finalize their Opening Day roster

Storylines: Indians begin to finalize their Opening Day roster
Elliot Johnson(Photo:
March 23, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB.  I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

With no major signings or trades occurring on Saturday, there are no "Top Stories." Instead, I will give a rundown of all of the day's news and notes.

Here are the stories from Saturday, March 22nd

Tribe News

  • The Indians made a few roster moves in an effort to start putting the finishing touches on the Opening Day 25-man roster.  Infielder/outfielder Elliot Johnson was informed that he will be with the club on Opening Day.  Infielder David Adams was designated for assignment in order to make room for Johnson on the 40-man roster.  Vinnie Pestano was also informed that he has made the Tribe bullpen.  General manager Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona also let outfielder Jeff Francoeur know that he will not make the 25-man roster.  Francoeur was granted his release and is now a free agent.
  • Antonetti said that he will meet with the coaching staff again on Sunday to try to get more clarity on some of the roster decisions they have to make, including the battle for the fifth starter.  Antonetti also said that Jason Giambi is unlikely to open the season on the 25-man roster, as he is still nursing his rib injury.
  • Cleveland pitching had a rough go of it in a 14-6 loss to the Rockies on Saturday.  Corey Kluber went six innings but allowed seven runs on eleven hits.  He also only struck out one and didn’t walk a batter.  After learning he had made the Opening Day roster, Vinnie Pestano gave up four runs on three hits and a walk in a third of an inning.  Nick Swisher and Michael Brantley each had two hits, and Brantley also drove in three.  Mike Aviles hit his second homer of the spring.
  • Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that Indians owner Paul Dolan said that while the 2012 offseason signings Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn did not play up to expectations in 2013, they played a key role in turning the organization around by changing the culture in the Tribe clubhouse.

News and Notes

  • Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres will shut down starter Josh Johnson for up to two weeks due to a strained flexor.
  • According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the Pirates are trying to extend young outfielder Starling Marte, but Marte has already declined at least two offers.
  • After losing the fifth starter’s battle to Jake Odorizzi, lefty Erik Bedard will most likely opt out of his contract with the Rays and become a free agent.  According to Chris Cotillo of, Bedard has told the Rays that he is willing to pitch out of the bullpen if Tampa Bay will add him to the roster, but if not, he will opt out of his contract.
  • Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Brewers are likely to part ways with first baseman Juan Francisco.  According to Rosiak, Francisco’s locker in the Milwaukee clubhouse has already been completely cleared out.
  • The Orioles claimed infielder David Adams off of waivers.  Adams was released earlier in the day by the Indians in order to make room for Elliot Johnson on the 40-man roster.  Baltimore then designated former Indians prospect Kelvin De La Cruz for assignment.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the Phillies are interested in adding another starter.
  • The Brewers exercised their 2015 option on manager Ron Roenicke’s contract and also added an option year for the 2016 season.

User Comments

March 24, 2014 - 9:10 AM EDT
Yep, so much for my Harang harangue. lol. Apparently they didn't see enough there to warrant considering it. But interesting that they do want him to stick around. You'd think with all the pitching help needed out there due to injuries he might very easily opt out for teams more in need. Let's be honest, its super unlikely that the team will want to commit to Bauer out of spring training with the last roster spot so that is just not going to happen. And Tomlin, with an option remaining and coming back from injury, will almost definitely begin in AAA barring an injury to the starters in front of him. Tito made it clear that the #5 slot was Carrasco's to lose at the outset and I think they are willing to let him sink or swim at this point. I'd say 92% Carrasco starts as #5, 5% Tomlin, 0% Bauer. Remaining 3% reserved for something out of the blue, like a last minute trade or waiver claim, but yeah, that's not happening so Carrasco gets the job. Lets see how that goes. Fingers crossed!
March 24, 2014 - 8:50 AM EDT
@ C.L. Who

I think Cabrera to Texas makes some sense...but definitely don't agree with dealing Justin Masterson too. Tribe definitely has a shot at the World Series this year. They have a shot at this division and all you have to do is get into the playoffs and you never know.

Dealing Cabrera would hurt our lineup but really wonder if Aviles/Johnson can't be adequate enough offensively to make the loss barely given their better defense at short than AC.

I'd want something pretty decent from the Rangers though as we could be competing with them again for a playoff spot. Doubt the Tribe moves Cabrera at this point though.
C. L. Who
March 23, 2014 - 9:07 PM EDT
I wonder if the Tribe should try to trade ACab to the Rangers to fill in for Jurickson Profar for the next 3 months. Maybe JM could be part of those talks too. Having both won't take the Tribe to the WS in 2014. Selling high and getting some near-MLB ready prospects could be beneficial very very quickly.
March 23, 2014 - 2:21 PM EDT
A bench of Johnson,Aviles and Raburn/Murphy and the versatility it carries, would seem to point to them carrying an eight man bullpen for at least parts of the season.

I still think Carrasco starts the season as the fifth starter, if only because he's out of options.
Harang will make the club as a long man and first replacement for Carrasco,if he falters.
Tomlin will start the season in AAA,he still needs to to pitch every fifth day coming back from the TJ surgery
March 23, 2014 - 2:08 PM EDT
Maybe the best thing for carrasco now and long term is the pen? Not sure about closer, but maybe a good set up guy?
John L.
March 23, 2014 - 1:58 PM EDT
Well nubballguy, Harang is already out of the picture and I bet Tomlin gets the 4th rotation spot with carrasco going to the pen.
March 23, 2014 - 1:38 PM EDT
Walter, might that be a consideration by the brass in keeping Harang? Try him out as 4th and see what they have? If he performs hang on to him, if not, cut bait and switch Carrasco into the slot. John L.,Tomlin starts in Columbus, has option.
If Harang continues to perform in these final days, I see this as a very viable scenario.
March 23, 2014 - 1:21 PM EDT
Harang will not be on Opening Day roster. He probably will opt out. Too many potential opportunities elsewhere on team that have pitching injuries. Braves, A's, Padres, Rangers, D Backs and Reds.
John L.
March 23, 2014 - 10:41 AM EDT
I wouldn't be surprised if the Indians open the season w/a 8 man bullpen. Go with 3 bench players (Aviles, Johnson, & Raburn) or only 4 starters (masty, zmac, klubs, & Tomlin). Salazar won't pitch for the first week or so, so you can wait to call him up. Bullpen then has carrasco, and 1 of wood & lee to go along with the 6 that already have spots. Easy to do if bourn and Giambi don't start the season on the opening day roster. Plus a corresponding move needs to be made to add Giambi to the roster still and same for Harang or Morgan if they make the club.
March 23, 2014 - 9:49 AM EDT
I wonder if the Phillies would like to have Carrasco back. Has Francona decided on7 or 8 man bullpen to start the season? If it is 8 man than I believe that Harang becomes the 5th starter and Carrasco goes to the bullpen. Wood and Lee would than be considered for that 7th spot in the bullpen.

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