BullpenChris Perez: Future with Indians. Perez has appeared to be intentionally trying to talk his way out of Cleveland this year. First he criticized the fans, then he fought with an Oakland A's fan, then he called out management and ownership. Those distractions alone may have already sealed his ticket out of town. His on the field play has been very strong, with an ERA of 3.42, FIP of 2.53 and a brilliant 10 K/2 BB per 9 innings. Another problem for Perez's Indians tenure is the emergence of Vinnie Pestano as the team's best pitcher. Pestano has proven he can be a closer equal to or greater than the caliber of Perez. I don't think Chris can play his way on or off the team at this point, but if he wants a trade, spouting off a few more times can help him in that regard.
Vinnie Pestano: Closer or setup man. As with Perez, Pestano has sealed a spot on the 2013 Tribe with his on-field play. Whether it will be as a closer or setup man will depend on Chris Perez's status on the team. He can't help or hurt his standing at this point, even if he pulled a "CP" in the press.
Joe Smith: Future with Indians. Smitty has had another strong season, but regressed from a 2.01 ERA to a 3.26 ERA. Smitty's play has earned him a raise from $1.75 mil but will the Indians pick it up? Right-handed specialists aren't hard to find and the bullpen is deep. A few more strong performances will only help Smitty's case.
Tony Sipp: Future with Indians. If I was the GM of the Tribe, Sipp would be jettisoned after this year. He doesn't command a ton of money, probably under $1 mil, but at age 29, with a career 4.76 FIP, he just isn't that good. He walks too many guys, gives up too many home runs, and a career .239 BABIP signals a season or two of pure implosion in his future. I know he's a lefty, but we have others in the system. Sipp can help his case with some strong work down the stretch.
|Esmil Rogers has earned a late-inning role for 2013.|
Chris Seddon: Future with Indians. Seddon was an old 29-year old in AAA Columbus but he earned his promotion late in the year. The Tribe seem to be looking at him as a long reliever and that is probably his best bet to make the big league club in 2013. How he adjusts to that role this September will say a lot about his chances.
Frank Herrmann: Future with Indians. I thought Herrmann was done-zo in August. He had a mediocre year in Columbus and had proved to be average in 89 games with the Tribe. However, his strikeouts are up and his walks and HRs are down in his stint with the Indians this fall. If Herrmann continues to pitch well (another scoreless inning tonight), he may just stick around with the organization with another year. Hopefully the front office don't hold his .222 BABIP too highly, because it shows he has been lucky on balls hit in play.
Cody Allen: 2013 Role. No Indians reliever helped his case in 2012 than Cody Allen. The youngster came up and dominated his competition with 12 straight scoreless appearances. He has cooled off a bit since, but has shown fantastic stuff. His ceiling might be as high as a guy like Vinnie Pestano if he can cut down on the walks. If Allen finishes the season without any major setbacks, he will be a candidate to make the club right out of Spring Training.
Scott Barnes: Indians or Clippers. It was an up-and-down year for Barnes. He made his big league debut with the Indians May 30 after being converted from a starter to a reliever in AAA Columbus. His ERA ballooned to as high as 10.38 after his fifth appearance but he has settled down nicely in September and posted six-straight scoreless appearances. Lefty relievers are valuable and Barnes has a chance to take Tony Sipp's spot in the 2013 pen.
Scott Maine: Future with Team. Scott Maine was an interesting waiver-wire pickup from the Cubs in September. He's 27 with good stuff and some minor control issues. The Tribe likely will bring him to Spring Training on a minor league deal. He can certainly help his case with some scoreless frames to end the year because we've only seen him a few times this year.
Others: Raffy Perez was shut down this week after trying to come back from an extended injury. He'll be due for a contract in the $2 mil range and the Tribe might replace him from within ... Nick Hagadone will be one of the lefty candidates to replace Perez, if he can prevent himself from breaking his hand in a fit of rage. He needs to work on his control (sound familiar?) to be in the 2013 Tribe pen at the start of the year ... Fabio Martinez was a late addition to the 40-man roster off waivers from the Angels. He is 22 with a live arm, but needs to start getting it done on the field. He'll be in Akron next year at some point.
My Guess: Chris Perez will be traded, Smith-Rogers-Pestano will cover the 7th thru 9th innings, either Jeanmar Gomez or Chris Seddon will make the team as a long reliever, Barnes, Allen, Hagadone and Herrmann will round out the rest of the pen. The team will let Raffy Perez and Tony Sipp go.