Expected 25 Man Roster (3/14/14)

For the first edition of the 25 man roster from the beginning of Spring Training, click here. From now on, players who have won their position will be listed in blue with no further remarks. Changes are listed in green. This update includes a couple more announced starters as well as the first round of cuts and injuries. Players that have been cut or are otherwise no longer in the competition for a roster spot will be listed on the bottom of the article in red.

Infield
C: Yan Gomes (1)

1B: Nick Swisher (2)
2B: Jason Kipnis (3)
3B: Lonnie Chisenhall (4)
Options: Mike Aviles, Santana, Ryan Rohlinger or David Adams
Some have said that Santana (.160, 4/25) has looked stiff at third, but his .882 fielding percent speaks for itself (Chisenhall is yet to make an error). As the Spring continues, it is looking more and more likely that Santana's time at third will be more like once or twice this season than once or twice a week. Look for Aviles (.300, 6/20, 3 RBI) to take over if Chisenhall (.308, 8/26, 3 RBI) can't hack it.

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera (5)
DH: Carlos Santana (6)
Options: Chisenhall, Ryan Raburn, Jeff Francoeur or David Murphy
With Gomes (.217, 5/23, 3 RBI) set as starting catcher and Santana bumbling around third, this placement seems inevitable. While it is admirable that he wants to play in the field, this is the best lineup for the Indians. Chisenhall is a better hitter than any of the other options and a better defensive choice at third than Santana. While Santana will get some games in at catcher, third and first, his primary position will be designated hitter.

Corner Infield: Mike Aviles (7)
Options: Raburn or Chisenhall
The only way Aviles doesn't get this spot is if management decides they are done with Chisenhall and moves Aviles to starting third base.

C2/Middle Infield/PH/PR: Jeff Francoeur (8)
Options: Matt Treanor, Luke Carlin, Ryan Rohlinger, David Adams, Bryan LaHair, Elliot Johnson, Justin Sellers, Matt Carson, Jeff Francoeur, David Cooper, Chisenhall, Raburn or Murphy.

In the biggest surprise so far this Spring, Jose Ramirez was among the first round of cuts (listed below) after an excellent start to his MLB career in 2013. This was most likely because the of the injuries that forced him to start late this Spring. Rather than push him too fast and risk further injury and him not being ready by Opening Day, they will instead go with a veteran. Most likely, the Indians will use an outfielder like Francoeur (.222, 5/21) or Morgan (.200, 5/25) as they have given no real chance for Treanor to prove himself this Spring. The top infield choices for this roster spot are Johnson and Sellers who have been supplying much of the Indians offense this Spring. Sellers is hitting .636 (7/11, 4 BB, 2 RBI, 2 2B) since being traded earlier this Spring while Johnson is hitting .429 (9/20, 2 3B, 6 RBI). Both players are capable utility men, able to play all infield and outfield positions if necessary.

Outfield
LF: Michael Brantley (9)

CF: Michael Bourn (10)
RF: David Murphy (11)
Options: Raburn, Aviles, Carson, Jeff Francoeur or Morgan
At this point, this looks like it will be a simple platoon with Murphy (.130, 3/23) playing against right handed hitters and Raburn (.600, 6/10) playing against lefties. Francoeur and Morgan are still in the mix as well for the other roster openings and could be used as late inning defensive replacements, essentially meaning that up to four spots on the 25 man roster could be used just for right field.

OF4: Ryan Raburn (12)
Options: Aviles, Carson, Murphy, Francoeur or Morgan
As the right handed side of the expected platoon, Raburn will get less at bats and still be considered the back-up. He is still out with a right knee injury, but should be back within the next few days.

Starting Rotation
Ace: Justin Masterson (13)
Corey Kluber SP2: Corey Kluber (14)
Photo at right
SP3: Zach McAllister (15)
SP4: Danny Salazar (16)
In addition to Masterson (0.00 ERA, 8 IP) being named staff ace on Tuesday, Kluber (4.50 ERA, 10 IP, 10 K) has been named the number two man in the rotation on Wednesday and McAllister (2.45 ERA, 7.1IP) the fourth today. This means that Salazar will almost certainly be number four, although he could be used as the fifth starter to low him to be skipped in the rotation. Terry Francona has been protecting Salazar to this point in Spring and he has pitched in just one MLB game.

SP5: Josh Tomlin (17)
Options: Shawn Marcum, Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer, Aaron Harang, Kyle Davies or the previous three starters.
When the signings were originally made, Marcum and Davies looked like legitimate contenders for the fifth rotation spot, but well into the third week of Spring, nether has made their Cactus League debut. While most pitchers are already going into the fourth inning, these two will have to start from the bottom still. With this being the case, they are unlikely to be ready by Opening Day, but could be put on the DL and make the roster some time in April, similar to the way Jason Giambi and Scott Kazmir made the 2013 squad.

Of those still in the race, Bauer, Tomlin and Carrasco have been three of the most used pitchers so far this Spring. Tomlin and Carrasco have done everything possible to win this job. Carrasco has thrown seven innings with a 1.29 ERA while Tomlin has pitched nine with just two runs allowed. Newcomer Harang has also been successful, posting a 1.80 ERA in five innings. Most likely, two of these three players will make the team in some capacity and things should sort themselves out in the next two weeks.

Bullpen
CP: John Axford (18)
SU1: Cody Allen (19)

SU2: Bryan Shaw (20)
LHRP: Marc Rzepczynski (21)
RHRP: Vinnie Pestano (22)
Options: The rest of the bullpen options will be listed in the "Bullpen 7" position.
Pestano has still not allowed a run this Spring (in three innings) and has the greatest combination of raw talent and veteran experience of all those competing for the bullpen. Unless he proves otherwise, he is the best option for late inning righty.

BP6: Josh Outman (23)
It is not 100%, but Outman (0.00 ERA, 4IP) is just an announcement away from being officially part of the 2014 bullpen.

BP7: Tyler Cloyd (24)
Options: C.C. Lee, Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes, Matt Zagurski, Matt Capps, Colt Hynes, Preston Guilmet, Frank Herrmann, Blake Wood, Tyler Cloyd, Scott Atchison, David Aardsma, Kyle Davies or Travis Banwart

This position is still available for anyone to take, with no clear favorite. Instead of focusing on who will win this position, it is easier to focus on who won't. Banwart has brought a new definition to awful, giving six runs in 2.2 innings, a number that is blatantly obvious on a team that still has 9 pitchers with perfect 0.00 ERAs (all with at least three innings pitched. Also, in addition to those cut this week, Colt Hynes (4.91 ERA, 3.2 IP) and Matt Zagurski (3.00 ERA, 3IP) are likely on their way out. Zagurski is out of luck as two left handers are set to make the Opening Day bullpen already and both Hagadone and Barnes are above him on the depth chart. Most likely, however, neither of them will start the year on the Indians either. JC Ramirez is also out of contention after breaking his left thumb, although he could remain in the system and join the team later in the year.

Long Relief/Extra Bat: Carlos Carrasco (25)
Options: Any player listed as an option anywhere who doesn't make the team in some other capacity.
Now that the kids are out of camp this position has become a little clearer, but it still depends on many things. The Indians would be best served using it either for an extra starter/long reliever or a power hitter. These are general weaknesses in the club overall and there are a few good options currently in camp. Whoever comes in second for the fifth spot in the rotation should be the first considered as will be the losers from the final infield/outfield position including Francoeur, Adams and Cooper. Jason Giambi has been removed from the competition after being hit by a pitch and breaking a rib. He will be out until after the season opener.

Minor League Cuts: Francisco Lindor, Jake Lowery, Tyler Naquin, Roberto Perez, Joe Wendle, Tony Wolters, Austin Adams, Carlos Moncrief, Jesus Aguilar, T.J. House, Jose Ramirez, Eric Gonzalez and Bryan Price were relegated to minor league camp. This includes all non-roster minor leaguers with Major League invites.
Injured Past Opening Day: Jason Giambi, JC Ramirez

Also Removed: Chun Chen, Tim Fedroff, Jose Flores, Giovanni Soto, Leandro Linares, Tyler Sturdevant, Cody Anderson and Chris Wallace.

Joseph Coblitz

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 the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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