Expected 25 Man Roster (2/11/14)

For the original edition of the 25 man roster from January 1st, click here. Additions this time around include a group of minor leaguers that have been invited to Major League camp and a couple minor free agent signings. This should include the majority of additions for the 2014 season as pitchers and catchers report later today.

Infield
C: Yan Gomes (1)

Other Options: Carlos Santana
Gomes will be the starting catcher as he is defensively superior to Santana. Likely, both players will be in the lineup on a daily basis.

1B: Nick Swisher (2)
Options
: Santana or Jesus Aguilar
Swisher will be the starting first baseman, but will split time with Santana and possibly others rotating with the DH spot.

2B: Jason Kipnis (3)
Options: Jose Ramirez or Ryan Raburn
Kipnis will be the starting second baseman, but in case of injury, Ramirez and Raburn would be available.

3B: Lonnie Chisenhall (4)
Options: Mike Aviles, Santana, Ryan Rohlinger, Ramirez or David Adams
This could be Chisenhall's last chance to start at third, but it is hard to say who would replace him. All the players listed are very real options with Aviles being the best defensive choice and Santana the best offensive. Santana himself has said he is ready and expecting to play regularly at the hot corner, but his defense is more than questionable at this point. At both catcher and first base he has been below average defensively, so there is no reason to think he would be any better at a more difficult position.

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera (5)
Options: Aviles, Ramirez or Francisco Lindor
Cabrera will be the starting short stop, but in case of injury or trade, either Aviles or Ramirez would be the likely replacement.

DH: Carlos Santana (6)
Options: Jason Giambi, Chisenhall, Aguilar, Raburn, Jeff Francoeur or David Murphy
More doubt has been thrown on this position now that Santana is so openly against being the regular DH. If Santana starts in the field, there would likely be a revolving DH, but some player would still need to take the open roster spot. If this was the case this would be a great place for the Indians to add a player like Francouer. Of course, the role could also just fall to Chisenhall assuming the Indians want to keep him on the roster, but not as a starter.


Corner Infield: Mike Aviles (7)
Options: Raburn, Chisenhall, Rohlinger, Adams, David Cooper, Ramirez, Aguilar, Bryan LaHair or Chun Chen
This is yet another position that is greatly affected by the Santana/Chisenhall saga. Eventually, Chisenhall, Santana and Aviles will all most likely make the team in some capacity, only the exact position is to be decided.

C2/Middle Infield/PH/PR: Jeff Francoeur (8)
Options: Matt Treanor, Chen, Chris Wallace, Roberto Perez, Jake Lowery, Tony Wolters, Luke Carlin, Lindor, Erik Gonzalez, Matt Carson, Nyjer Morgan, Joe Wendle, Elliot Johnson or any player listed as corner infield, DH or outfield.
The Indians have a great opportunity with Santana being able to catch to use the spot that is usually designated for an extra catcher for something else. It could be used for a Spring Training invitee, like Francouer or Morgan, or a minor league that isn't quite ready, like Lindor or Aguilar. There is also a good chance the Indians will waste the spot by giving it to Giambi. The fact that two new catchers, Lowery and Wolters, were added this month does not mean the Indians are moving towards carrying three catchers. They were just added so the pitchers, who have to arrive to camp early, have someone to throw to.

Outfield
LF: Michael Brantley (9)
Options
: Raburn
Brantley will be the starting left fielder, but in case of injury, Raburn would be the back-up.

CF: Michael Bourn (10)
Options
: Brantley
Bourn will be the starting center fielder, but in case of injury, Brantley would be the back-up.

RF: David Murphy (11)
Options
: Raburn, Aviles, Carson, Moncrief, Francoeur, LaHair or Morgan
The Morgan signing throws a little more doubt onto this position, but Murphy has the benefit of a Major League contract, while Morgan and Francoeur are in camp with minor league deals. That being said, this may be a fair competition in camp with the job going to the best of the players listed above.

OF4: Ryan Raburn (12)
Options: Aviles, Carson, Carlos Moncrief, Murphy, Francoeur, Morgan or Tyler Naquin
Raburn's contract guarantees his placement on the roster and this will likely be that place. The other options are listed in case Raburn is the starting right fielder and Murphy becomes the DH. This has almost no chance of happening, but nothing is known for sure at this point.

Starting Rotation
Ace: Justin Masterson (13)
Options: Danny Salazar or Corey Kluber
The Indians have given up on a multi year extension for Masterson, so there is no guarantee after 2014, but he will definitely be with the team, whether it is for the $11.8M he is asking for or the $8.05M the Indians have offered. Because of this, there is a chance he will start the team as the ace and not finish it that way.

SP2: Corey Kluber (14)
Options
: Salazar, Zach McAllister
Kluber has a good combination of dominant stuff and the consistency demanded by a starting pitcher. Because of this, he will remain in the rotation, barring injury, although he may not keep the second spot.

SP3: Danny Salazar (15)
Salazar was electric last season and has a guaranteed spot in the rotation, unlike some prospects on a similar level, like Bauer. Even with further signings, he will likely hold this spot.

SP4: Zach McAllister (16)
McAllister is a very consistent pitcher and has been for years. Even if the Indians sign one of the remaining starting pitcher free agents, he will still remain in the rotation as the fifth starter.

SP5: Shaun Marcum (17)
Options: Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco or the previous three starters.
The Indians aren't expecting a ton from Marcum, but he could still make the rotation out of Spring Training. If it isn't Marcum, Chris Antonetti has placed a big emphasis on Carrasco, who could rejoin the rotation if he has an outstanding Spring. There really isn't a favorite in this race, but unless the Indians sign another pitcher (like Ubaldo Jimenez), the race is essentially down to Marcum, Tomlin and Carrasco. 

Bullpen
CP: John Axford (18)
Options
: Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, C.C. Lee, Matt Capps or Vinnie Pestano
Assuming no further signings, trades or injuries, Axford will be the closer. If something unforeseen happens, the Indians shouldn't have a problem working a closer-by-committee with the players listed above.

SU1: Cody Allen (19)
Options: The rest of the bullpen options will be listed in the "Bullpen 7" position.
Allen was dominant in 2013 and is looking to see an increase in importance next summer. Since he will make the bullpen in some fashion, worrying about where exactly is unimportant.

SU2: Bryan Shaw (20)
Shaw will be a member of the 2014 bullpen although his role has not been completely decided.

LHRP: Josh Outman (21)
Options: Marc Rzepczynski, Scott Barnes, Nick Hagadone or Mike Zagurksi
Outman signed early in January for the 2014 season, so he will almost certainly be with the team in some capacity. As he cannot be trusted against right handed hitters, this is his perfect role. Barnes, Hagadone and Zagurski will be in camp, but unlikely to break into a very deep bullpen.

RHRP: C.C. Lee (22)
Lee is a long shot to make the bullpen, but is by far the most advanced of the "prospect" level players. Players like Guilmet and House, who made appearances in 2013, are not quite ready yet and there is little future value in players like Capps or Atchison. This and the bullpen seven spots are the variables in the upcoming bullpen.

BP6: Marc Rzepczynski (23)
Zep has signed an incentive laden deal for 2014 that includes an extra $50K if he pitches in at least 60 games. As a versatile left hander, only injury will likely keep him away from that mark. He will definitely be in the bullpen in 2014.

BP7: Vinnie Pestano (24)
Options: Capps, Colt Hynes, Preston Guilmet, Frank Herrmann, T.J. House, Blake Wood, Bryan Price, Austin Adams, JC Ramirez, Tyler Cloyd, Tyler Sturdevant, Giovanni Soto, Jose Flores, Cody Anderson, Scott Atchison, David Aardsma, Leandro Linares or any other pitcher listed on this page or in the Indians upper minor league system.

This will be a great position to give as an award to the reliever with the greatest Spring, which is why Pestano should be the favorite. He has been working out in Goodyear for weeks already and has the veteran experience and strength of youth that the other competitors are lacking. This is Pestano's chance to get back to the top and forget about 2013. While most of the relief roles have already been generally decided, this one and the right handed specialist jobs are completely up for grabs.

Long Relief/Extra Bat: Josh Tomlin (25)
Options: Any player listed as an option anywhere who doesn't make the team in some other capacity.
The player who wins this spot has more to do with what Antonetti and Terry Francona want to do with the roster rather who is the best player. If the Indians really want Giambi as much as they say, this could be his spot. If they want more versatility, it could go to Ramirez or Francoeur (assuming they don't get more prominent positions). Finally, if the Indians want an eight man bullpen like they had all of last season, it could go to a loser of the fifth starter competition. Until the rest of the roster shakes up, this spot will be completely unknown.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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