The Indians are tired. The season is almost over and their limited success has forced almost every game to be important, creating additional stress that really great and really bad teams don't have to deal with. Any bit of relief at this point would be welcome and there will certainly be some coming just around the corner. On September first rosters will expand, allowing the Indians (and every other Major League team) to bring up as many as 40 players. On September second, most of the Indians minor league seasons will end (including the only important team for this situation, the Clippers) and the Indians will have free selection of players from their minor league system to fill out their beleaguered roster. Here are the prime candidates for a call-up:
The "Hey Weren't You Just Here" Level
The Indians have stuck with the same roster almost all season, but have needed to resupply from time to time, due to injuries or double headers. These players have spent some time in Cleveland this year and will likely be the first to return. They are listed in order of their likelihood of returning.
Vinnie Pestano40 – Admit it, you forgot he was in AAA.
Josh TomlinDL & Trevor Bauer40 – May be used for spot starts down the stretch.
C.C. Lee40 & Preston Guilmet40 – Were successful in short term stints in the bullpen and should be back.
Nick Hagadone40, Scott Barnes40 & T.J. House40 – These players were not successful, but throw with their left arm, thus making them valuable.
Omir Santos, Cord Phelps40 & Ezequiel Carrera – The Indians are likely to call-up reserves for each position and these are these most likely candidates that have already been on the team.
Matt Langwell40, Joe Martinez, Lou MarsonDL, Juan Diaz40 – These players were on the team at some point and are still in the system, but don't need to be brought back for any reason.
The "Almost Ready" Level
Chun Chen – The Clippers slugger will probably make his first full season in the Majors in 2015, but he is ready to contribute a little now and would be a better option for third string catcher than Santos. The Indians are in dire need of a third string catcher since they use Yan Gomes as a starter and are put in difficult situations when Carlos Santana is the DH.
David Cooper – Cooper was just signed and has a clause in his contract that he needs to be brought up by the end of August. Thus, he would not quite be a September call-up, but is on the same level as the others listed. His call-up would be more to the ends of keeping him for next season than any actual help this year.
Jeremy Hermida – Ryan Raburn has been given his due, but what does Hermida have to show for his 17 AAA home runs? He deserves a call-up for no other reason than waiting patiently in Columbus all season for the call-up that never happened.
Bryan Price & Blake Wood40 – If the Indians bring up all the relievers listed above, they won't need any extra help, but if they decide against a few of them, these two relievers would be good options as they are essentially ready for the pros.
Tim Fedroff40 – Time is running out for the Clippers outfielder who is entering the prime of his career and remains in the minors. If he isn't a September call-up, it may be time to give up on him and he shouldn't be called up.
The "Wouldn't It Be Cool If" Level
A few of the Indians top prospects hit the AA level, making them possible to be called up, albeit unlikely.
Francisco Lindor, Jesus Aguilar & Jose Flores – Lindor is the future at short stop, Aguilar has a career high (league high and team record) 100 RBI and Flores is just dominant out of the pen. None of these players are on the 40 man roster, but will likely be added prior to the offseason, so there wouldn't be much difference in adding them now. While Indians fans would love to see how these players compete against Major Leaguers right now, this is very unlikely unless the Indians are completely out of the Playoff chase.
40: Player is on the 40 man roster, making them simple to call-up.
DL: Player is on the 60 Day DL, making a move necessary to bring back.
If the Indians want to bring up players not on the 40 man roster, they will have to make some choices. At least one move will need to be made as Josh Tomlin will be coming back this year. The Indians only have 16 position players listed on the 40 man, so they will have to make some decisions among pitchers. They will not be able to protect all 27 pitchers this offseason and they may want to get rid of some early to make room for these possible call-ups.