It’s almost time for pitchers and catchers to report. So why not get a jump start on predicting the Cleveland Indians 25 man roster. Most of the roster is pretty much set, but there are a few key battles that will play out. While I think a trade could still happen, you never know if someone will get hurt or a free agent will be signed, I’ll assume none of those things will happen, except for one prior injury you’ll see below.
1. Two starting rotation spots
2. One to two bullpen spots
3. 1-2 backup infield spots
4. 1-2 outfield spots
Let’s review the players that will make the roster without question.
Rotation: Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber.
Relievers: Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Nick Goody, Zach McAllister, Tyler Olson, Dan Otero.
Catchers: Yan Gomes, Roberto Perez
Infielders: Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis, Yonder Alonso, Edwin Encarnacion
Outfielders: Michael Brantley, Bradley Zimmer, Lonnie Chisenhall
That is 19 for sure spots locked up. Let’s start with the two rotation spots. Mike Clevinger, Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin and Ryan Merritt all have shots. However, I think it ends up being a fairly easy choice. Danny Salazar and Josh Tomlin get it and Clevinger goes to the bullpen and takes that spot. I would love to see Clevinger in the rotation and Salazar become a reliever but I don’t think it happens. This brings the total to 22. Three spots remain. At least one will be an outfielder, one will be an infielder and one open spot that could go a variety of ways.
For the infield I think it’s really between three players. Erik Gonzalez, Giovanny Urshella, and Yandy Diaz. I want Diaz to hit his way into the spot but he I think ends up in AAA. Urshella and Gonzalez are both major league level backups but are out of options. One of them will be on another team this year. Tito I think will go with Urshella. 23 spots gone.
Next, the outfield. Melvin Upton Jr., Tyler Naquin, Abraham Almonte, and Brandon Guyer are all options here. I think Guyer is not healthy to start the year. I’m going to cancel him out for now. The 4th outfielder could go so many ways here. I lean toward Almonte or Naquin winning out. Likely Almonte will snag it.
One spot left. Gonzalez, Naquin, Upton, or Merritt. With this spot I think Tito keeps an extra outfielder and leaves Naquin on the roster. Upton gets released and Merrit and Gonazalez are traded since they are out of option.
There you go. The 25 man Cleveland Indians roster. Let’s play baseball.