March 30, 2004 ... Jason Stanford wins a spot in the Indians rotation.
At the start of camp in 2004:
- C.C. Sabathia was the staff ace at 23, with a 43-25 record in three full seasons.
- Jason Davis, also just 23, was considered the #2 starter, having started 27 games with a 4.68 ERA the year before as a rookie.
- Cliff Lee, a highly touted rookie at age 25, was the #3 starter, coming in with a 3.30 ERA in 11 career starts.
- Jake Westbrook and Chad Durbin were candidates for both the rotation and bullpen. Both started the year in the bullpen, though Westbrook of course didn't stay there very long. He went on to lead the American League in complete games (tied with 5) and was 3rd in ERA and 7th in WHIP.
- Jeff D'Amico and Jason Bere, both reclamation projects on minor league deals, were considered strong candidates for the rotation. D'Amico won the #4 spot. Bere bombed out and was still injured as it turned out. He spent another two fruitless years trying to recover before finally retiring.
- Jason Stanford was the last rotation candidate and was named the #5 man on March 30, an old rookie at 27.
- The starting rotation in Buffalo was Jeremy Guthrie, Fracisco Cruceta, Kyle Denney, Jeriome Robertson and Robert Ellis. Incredibly, that group of five contributed a mere 49.1 IP to the big league club in 2004, and not one of them ever became a significant factor on any Indians team. Only Guthrie appeared with the Indians after that season, contributing another 25.1 IP in 2005 and 2006.