Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2013 Indians Tryouts Begin Now

The 2011-12 Indians' season has long been lost. All that is left to play for is a spot out of the AL cellar. But there are a number of Tribesmen who still have a ton to play for in the final dozen or so games of a miserable year. 

Here's the first of a three-part series looking at exactly who and what is at stake:  

Starting Rotation 

Justin Masterson: Money. Masterson's spot in the 2013 rotation is secure. The big righty made just under $4 mil in arbitration last season and that number doesn't figure to go up much. A few more strong starts could help earn him a little more dough but he can't change his situation much at this point. 

Ubaldo Jimenez: Pride. Other than lowering that dreadful 5+ ERA, there isn't much Ubaldo can do to salvage a lost season. The Tribe will probably exercise his $5.75 mil option regardless of how he finishes because his talent is worth the risk. Although the W/L record and ERA don't show it, Ubaldo has pitched better lately, with more command and stronger overall stuff. A BABIP and HR/FB above his career mean hasn't helped him in the luck department, and a 5.00 FIP and 0.1 WAR show an average-to-below average-pitched season, not a terrible one. Tribe fans can only hope for improvement next season. 

Zach McAllister: Spot in 2013 rotation. In a lot of ways, Z-Mac was the Tribe's most consistently good starter this season. He'll probably be back in the 2013 rotation but a couple more solid starts can only help his already strong case. 

Corey Kluber is hoping to earn a spot in the 2013 rotation.
Corey Kluber: Cleveland or Columbus. Kluber certainly will be in the conversation for the 2013 starting rotation. He is young, with good stuff and has suffered a quite unlucky 2012 (BABIP near .400, HR/FB 12%). His FIP of 4.18 is closer to his overall performance than his 1-4 record or 5+ ERA. A couple more strong starts can help Kluber's case to begin the season in the Indians' or Clippers' starting five. 

Jeanmar Gomez: 2013 Role. It remains to be seen how many more starts the 24-year old Gomez will get this season. Gomez is looking like either a long reliever for the Tribe or a starter for the Columbus Clippers next year. A 4.8/3.0 K/BB per 9 innings line just won't get it done in the big leagues as a starter. 

Roberto Carmona Fausto Hernandez Heredia: Future in the game. The Tribe had a $9 mil club option for 2013 on RCFHH but it has been restructured due to his less-than-honest approach to U.S. work visa laws. Hernandez only started 3 games this season and they didn't show much other than rusty stuff but decent control (considering his career BB issues). Hernandez may get another start or two after a sprained right ankle but his fate is most likely sealed one way or another. If the Tribe decides to bring him back, it will be on a very small 1-year control or even a minor league deal. Most likely, his days are numbered in Cleveland.

David Huff: Future in organization. Huff's gotten his shot with the Tribe and hasn't been very effective at all. He may or may not get another start or two before this season ends, but anything less than two gems will probably see him out of the Indians organization entirely next season. 

Others: Carlos Carrasco pitched some healthy innings for Akron down the stretch, he'll enter Spring Training as a starting rotation favorite ... Josh Tomlin will miss all of next season recovering from Tommy John surgery ... Danny Salazar has progressed enough to warrant a full season in AA Akron and may factor into the Indians' 2014 plans ... Kevin Slowey was hurt almost all year in AAA Columbus and wasn't very effective when healthy, he won't be in Cleveland next season, if even the team's organization ... Scott Barnes, Scott Maine and Chris Seddon will most likely remain in the bullpen for next season's plans.  

My guess: Masterson, Jimenez, McAllister, Carrasco, Kluber/Free Agent ; Huff removed from 40-man

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