Recapping the Indians Latest Roster Moves

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Friday, the Cleveland Indians announced several roster moves. With Opening Day six days away, the Indians are starting to make final decisions about what their roster will look like to start the season.

In total, Cleveland’s roster moves involved nine different players. Some of the moves were expected, while others were not. However, the discussion surrounding who will start at first base and centerfield have been answered to some degree.

Here’s a recap of each move and what it means moving forward.

Players Who Made the Indians Opening Day Roster

The biggest move of them all was that Jake Bauers was officially named the team’s Opening Day first baseman. Bauers was one of two options for the Indians at first base. The 25-year old played in 117 games with the Indians big league club in 2019. He did not play at all last year. Looking back at the 2019 season, Bauers recorded a .226/.312/.371 slash line with 12 home runs, 43 RBI, 45 walks, and 115 strikeouts.

In addition, infielder Yu Chang also made the cut. Chang has the ability to play second base along with third base and shortstop. Therefore, he is a nice versatile piece to have on the roster for depth and matchup purposes alike. It was just two years ago that Chang was a Top 15 prospect in the Indians farm system. He still has a lot of qualities to like and will be an important piece on the Indians roster this year and moving forward into the future.

Outfielder Ben Gamel was another name added to the Indians roster. Gamel was signed in free agency by Cleveland this past offseason as a non-roster invite. Given some of the uncertainty regarding the Indians outfield, he will provide the team with another depth option. Gamel has played at the big league level for five years now. Over that span, a bulk of his work has come in right field, but he also has experience playing left field and center as well.

Finally, another player making the Opening Day roster was reliever Oliver Perez. The southpaw is entering his age-40 season and has had an impactful major league career over the last 18 years. Since joining the Indians prior to the start of the 2018 regular season, Perez has a 2.67 ERA over 139 appearances with a 1.022 WHIP.

Roster Cuts for the Indians

In total, there were five players that did not make the cut. The most notable of those names was Bradley Zimmer. Zimmer was once viewed as an impact centerfielder for the organization, but has battled with health issues over the last few years. In 2018, he was sidelined for about two weeks recovering from a left rib contusion. Things didn’t get better for the 28-year old come 2019 either as he was on the Injured List for about four months recovering from right shoulder surgery. As a former first-round pick for the organization in 2014, he still has yet to show his full potential.

Additionally, given that Jake Bauers won the starting first base job, Bobby Bradley was optioned down. Bradley had a very good spring overall posting a .303/.314/.636 batting line with 10 hits, five doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI, one walk, and seven strikeouts over 35 plate appearances. As the season progresses, there might be an opportunity down the road for him to re-join the big league club.

Besides Zimmer, reliever Kyle Nelson was informed that he would be sent down to the team’s alternate training site as well. Nelson, who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, pitched in one game last season at the big league level. The hope was that he could win a bullpen job. However, now he will give the organization depth down in the minors should the team need it.

Finally, the last two players who didn’t make the cut were relievers Blake Parker and Anthony Gose. Both pitchers were in camp on non-roster invites.

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Players Mentioned: Jake Bauers, Yu Chang, Ben Gamel, Oliver Perez, Bradley Zimmer, Bobby Bradley, Kyle Nelson, Blake Parker, Anthony Gose