Expected 25 Man Roster (3/21/14)

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 the second round of minor league cuts and more 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: Santana
It took a couple of weeks, but Santana is starting to look more solid at third. He has played more innings there this Spring than anyone else and hasn't made an error since last week. He has made routine plays, tough throws and had to think/react on his feet without issue. His reflexes have proven fast enough to manage the hot corner and the idea of him playing a few games a week at third this season no longer seems like a disaster in the making. This being said, Chisenhall is still better defensively and is in the top ten hitters on the roster, so he should be the regular starting third baseman.  

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera (5)
DH: Carlos Santana (6)
Options: Chisenhall, Ryan Raburn, Jeff Francoeur or David Murphy
As things continue it is becoming harder to nail this position down to one person. There is a good chance that all the options listed will get some time at DH in addition to Swisher, Gomes and possibly Kipnis. Most teams are getting away from the everyday DH and the Indians haven't had one since Travis Hafner left. In 2013 the Indians used 94 different combinations of defensive players and a large part of that has to do with the rotating DH.

Corner Infield: Mike Aviles (7)
Options: Chisenhall
Chisenhall has had a fantastic Spring both offensively and defensively and thus, essentially taken Aviles out of consideration for a starting role. He will still make the team, regardless, most likely as the primary utility infielder.

C2/Middle Infield/PH/PR: Jeff Francoeur (8)
Options: Luke Carlin, Bryan LaHair, Elliot Johnson, Justin Sellers, Matt Carson, Jeff Francoeur, David Cooper, Chisenhall or Murphy.
The Indians have been culling the herd in the bullpen with nine more cuts in the relief corp this week, but the main competitors for this final utility man spot remain in Major League camp. To simplify things a little, David Adams was cut this week and Ryan Rohlinger has been told he won't make the team, but Johnson, Sellers, Carson, Francoeur and Cooper all have as good of a chance at making the team now as they did on day one of  camp. Johnson and Sellers have a slight advantage by being able to play all infield and outfield positions, but the Indians should prefer a little extra power than the increased versatility since they already have Aviles and Raburn on the roster who can essentially do the same thing. To get that extra power, Francoeur is the best option. In addition to his fantastic track record (minus 2013), Francoeur has just started to turn things on this Spring and now leads the team with 9 RBI in just 33 at bats.

Outfield
LF: Michael Brantley (9)

CF: Michael Bourn (10)
Options: Brantley, Carson, Francoeur, Morgan or Johnson
This position was set, but Bourn pulled his hamstring again, a problem he had surgery for during the last off-season. He is expected to be back by next week, but if he misses much more, the Indians would have to find a new center fielder in a hurry. The most effective solution would likely be to put Brantley in center and use Francoeur, Murphy or Raburn in left. While the Indians minor league system is starting to become strong in outfield depth, the nearest suitable center fielder is Tyler Naquin and he is yet to play a game in AAA. If Bourn is placed on the disabled list, Morgan could be a solid option as starting center fielder for a week or two.

RF: David Murphy (11)
Options: Raburn, Carson, Francoeur or Morgan
It has still not been officially announced, but the platoon still looks intact.

OF4: Ryan Raburn (12)
Options: Carson, Murphy, Francoeur or Morgan
Raburn is still dealing with the effects of running into a wall more than a week ago, but should be ready in plenty of time for the regular season. Since he already won this job from his effort during the 2013 season, it is not important that he gets enough at bats to prove himself.

Starting Rotation
Ace: Justin Masterson (13)
SP2: Corey Kluber (14)

SP3: Zach McAllister (15)
Aaron Harang1 SP4: Aaron Harang (16) Photo on right
Options: Shawn Marcum, Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer or Carlos Carrasco
The question remains for this position whether the Indians would prefer to go with a known veteran in Harang (2.00 ERA, 9IP) or a more volatile younger player, like Tomlin (2.57 ERA, 14IP) or Carrasco (5.59 ERA, 9.2IP). Bauer and Marcum are essentially out of the running, but are still in Major League camp so they remain listed, but the competition is down to three. All three starters have been equally effective to this point, so the decision will have to be made due to more than just statistics. Carrasco's numbers are simply inflated after his last appearance against Oakland. Prior to that he held an ERA below 2.00 in his first three appearances.

SP5: Danny Salazar (17)
One reason why the Indians may want to go with Harang as the fourth starter is that they don't know exactly what to expect from Salazar. He has been pitching mostly in minor league "B" games this Spring and has seen mixed results. While he still has an obvious penchant for striking batters out, he has been giving up more hits and runs than would be expected. He will almost certainly be the fifth starter, so he can be skipped in the rotation by using off-days so he won't waste too many of his innings early in the season.

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 been solid and injury free so far this Spring, throwing five innings and allowing just a single run to this point. In addition to being due some loyalty as the most important member of the "Bullpen Mafia" from its creation through 2012, Pestano has been among the Indians top relievers this Spring. The other main competitors for this spot include the veteran Scott Atchison (1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 0.67 WHIP), Blake Wood (1.13 ERA, 8 IP, 10K) and C.C. Lee (2.57 ERA, 7 IP, 11K).

BP6: Josh Outman (23)
The minor league reassignments on Hagadone, Barnes, Banwart, Hynes and Zagurski leave Outman as the only left hander in camp (outside of Zep, who has already made the team). While not official, the fact that all four left handed relievers were sent down on the same day makes it seem like Outman will be included in the bullpen for sure.

BP7: Carlos Carrasco (24)
Options: C.C. Lee, Matt Capps, Blake Wood, Scott Atchison, Kyle Davies, Aaron Harang or Josh Tomlin
Carrasco has proven again this Spring that he has tremendous talent and it would be a great waste to let that go simply because there isn't enough room on the roster. He has also already proven that he can be a solid reliever during the end of 2013 and none of the other options have really stood out to this point. The Indians have said Carrasco will make the team in some capacity due to his lack of options and either this or the next spot will be his best fit.

Long Relief/Extra Bat: Elliot Johnson (25)
Options: Any player listed as an option anywhere who doesn't make the team in some other capacity.
Johnson has never really proven himself at the Major League level, but he made some changes to his game and is currently leading the Indians in home runs (2) and triples (2) and is second in RBI (6) and hits (12) all while batting .333. His inclusion on the team will largely depend on the last few roster decisions, but there are a few permutations that could include him. If the Indians need to include a back-up catcher, Johnson would be a great choice as he is capable of playing the other seven defensive positions. He would also be a better choice, as far as versatility goes, than Francoeur for the final utility man if this spot is used to carry an extra pitcher.

Reassigned to MiLB Camp: Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes, Travis Banwart, Mike Zagurski, Tyler Cloyd, Preston Guilmet, Colt Hynes, Frank Herrmann and David Adams
Announced will not make team: Ryan Rohlinger (still in camp) and David Aardsma (released)

Out due to injury: Matt Treanor

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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