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Brown, Carmona Optioned to Buffalo

Now the transactions are starting to get more interesting:

Optioned RHP Fausto Carmona and RHP Andrew Brown to Buffalo

Carmona impressed the Indians' brass this spring, and will probably be the first starter up. Fausto doesn't have great strikeout rates, but his age (22), stuff (mid-90s fastball), and control make him an intriguing prospect.

Andrew Brown also performed well. I'm a bit surprised (and concerned) that he's the first one of the four contenders to be sent down. Jason Davis, Steve Karsay, and Danny Graves are still in the running for the last bullpen spot.

The problem with choosing either Graves or Karsay is that someone will have to go from the 40-man roster; there's nobody destined for the 60-day Disabled List, so that means somebody's going to have to be traded or placed on waivers to make room for an NRI.

Another issue is that of 25-man roster flexibility. If you assume that either Karsay or Graves is added to the roster, then that creates some option problems. All five starters have to be on the major-league roster come Opening Day, which would leave Rafael Betancourt and Matt Miller as the only pitchers with options remaining if my calculations are correct. Once you option a player to the minors, you can't recall him for 10 days. So if the Indians happened to need an extra arm in the bullpen, they'd have to go without one of their better relievers for 10 days just to add someone to the roster.