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Cleveland Indians Transactions: Indians call up 10 players, DFA two, and trade one as part of September roster expansion

An in-depth look at the players added (and subtracted) as part of the Indians' September callups.

Jose Ramirez
Jose Ramirez
Leon Halip

The first couple days of September have been busy ones on the transactions front, with 10 players already recalled or to be recalled, two players designated for assignment, and one player traded.

September 1, 2013

Recalled LHP Nick Hagadone, RHP Blake Wood, and RHP Preston Guilmet from Columbus

Purchased the contract of C Kelly Shoppach from Columbus (AAA) and recalled him to Cleveland

Purchased the contract of 2B/SS Jose Ramirez from Akron (AA) and recalled him to Cleveland

(links go to the player's b-ref page)

LHP Nick Hagadone - 27 Years Old

  • Acquired: Trade, 7-31-2009, Boston (Victor Martinez trade)
  • Service Time: 1.0+ (2014 Status: Pre-Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: No

Hagadone has excellent stuff, and has arguably been the best reliever in Columbus (6.7 H/9, 12.8 SO/9) but hasn't yet translated that to the major-league level. Walks and home runs, two of the banes of the reliever, has been the major reason he's been yo-yoed back and forth all season. And given the Indians' inability to find left-handed relief, he's been given multiple opportunities to establish himself as a regular in the bullpen. I don't believe the Indians have an option remaining on Hagadone, as he was added to the 40-man roster back in November 2010, so this September could decide whether he remains on the roster over the winter.

RHP Blake Wood - 27 Years old

  • Acquired: Waivers (Kansas City), 11-2-2012
  • Service Time: 3.0+ (2014 Status: 2nd Yr Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: No

Wood has been the equivalent of Rule 5 selection for the Indians. He was claimed off waivers last winter while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Indians have kept him on the 40-man roster all season while he's rehabbed, and is finally with the Indians. Wood missed the entire 2012 season thanks to the elbow injury and surgery, but before that appeared in 51 games with the Royals in 2010. Wood has battled injuries most of his professional career, missing a big chunk of the 2007 season with back surgery, and had been dealing with a sore since 2009. It looks like he's finally healthy, but with no options remaining after this season (plus an arbitration-scale salary), he has a fairly small window of opportunity to make the major-league club next year. Like Hagadone, Wood has always had great stuff, and like Hagadone, walks have been a problem most of his professional career.

RHP Preston Guilmet - 25 Years Old (PTM)

  • Acquired: 9th Round, 2009 Draft
  • Service Time: 0+ (2014 Status: Pre-Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: Yes

An overachiever, Guilmet has forced promotions all the way up the minor-league system. He's been a durable reliever, throwing at least 50 innings in each of his 5 professional seasons. And he's had success every stop along the way. He was added to the mid-season PTM list, mainly for his results. Guilmet has never been ranked in BA's Top 30 team prospects, and you can see why. His fastball tops out around 90 mph, and although he'll probably get some deception from his over-the-top delivery and movement on his pitches, I don't see him as a late-inning guy. But he certainly has earned an opportunity to make the Indians bullpen next year.

C Kelly Shoppach - Age 33

  • Acquired: Minor League Free Agent, 8-29-2013
  • Service Time: 7.0+ (2014 Status: Free Agent)

He's with the Indians so that Carlos Santana can DH. Gomes at catcher and Santana at DH has been the best offensive configuration in the second half, but the Indians were taking a small risk doing so. If Gomes had had to leave the game due to injury, the Indians would have lost the DH. That didn't stop the Indians from playing Santana at DH from time to time, but it did limit the number of times they did it. Shoppach shouldn't get much playing time, perhaps coming in defensively if the Indians pinch-run for Gomes/Santana, and will be playing somewhere else next season.

2B/SS Jose Ramirez - 20 Years Old (PTM)

  • Acquired: International free agent, 11-26-2009
  • Service Time: 0.0+ (2014 Status: Pre-Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: Yes

Ramirez has flown up the organization ladder, making his major-league debut less than four years since he signed with the Indians as a 16-year-old, an incredible feat. Ramirez likely will not get many at-bats right away, though if the Indians fall out of the race (likely) he could some starts in the last couple weeks of season at second, short, or third. He's a small guy (only 5'9", listed at 165 pounds), so the danger is certainly there that major-league pitchers could knock the bat out of his hand, but he's good defensively at second (his primary position), has good contact/plate discipline (84 SO/71 BB in 1067 minor-league PA), and has excellent speed. That speed is primarily why he's up with the Indians this year. Ramirez will probably move to Columbus next year, serving as infield depth for the major-league club.

Designated SS Juan Diaz and OF Tim Fedroff for assignment

Sent RHP Matt Langwell to the Arizona Diamondbacks as the PTBNL in the trade for OF Jason Kubel

Langwell was probably going to be DFAed had he not been traded. He's not really a prospect, and the Indians have scads of other bullpen arms on their 40-man roster.

Juan Diaz and Tim Fedroff were major disappointment, which really hamstrung the Indians down the stretch. It's telling that when the Indians needed a middle infielder in late June, they brought back John McDonald rather than call up Diaz, and it's telling that when the Indians needed an outfielder last week, they added Matt Carson to the roster rather than call up Fedroff. Should Diaz clear waivers, he would become a minor-league free agent, as he has 8 seasons of minor-league experience. If Fedroff clears waivers, he would stay with the organization one more season, as he has only 6 seasons of minor-league experience.*

*You need 7 separate seasons in the minors (and to not be on a 40-man roster) to become a minor-league free agent.

September 2, 2013

Purchased the contract of LHP Clay Rapada and recalled him to Cleveland

LHP Clay Rapada - 32 Years Old

  • Acquired: Minor League free agent, 6-13-2013
  • Service Time: 2.0+ (2014 Status: Pre-Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: No

One of the players signed when the Indians were flailing around for left-handed pitching, Rapada was effective in AAA, and could serve as a matchup guy in the middle innings. He'll most likely be removed from the 40-man roster shortly after the season, although he only has a little of 2 years of service time.

September 3, 2013

Recalled RHP Vinnie Pestano, RHP Josh Tomlin, RHP Chen-Chang Lee, and RHP Carlos Carrasco from Columbus (AAA)

RHP Vinnie Pestano - Age 28

  • Acquired: 20th Round, 2006 Draft
  • Service Time: 2.0+ (2014 Status: Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: Yes

You know Vinnie's story: one of the elite relievers in baseball in 2011-2012, lost a couple mph on his fastball and became very pedestrian this year. He's been just ok in Columbus, and that's not a good sign for someone who as recently as last year dominated major-league hitters. It's doubtful that the Indians will use him in any important situation. I guess the hope is that Pestano can rebuild his mechanics over the winter.

RHP Josh Tomlin - Age 28

  • Acquired: 19th Round, 2006 Draft*
  • Service Time: 3.0+ (2014 Status: Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: Yes

*Yes, Pestano and Tomlin were selected in consecutive rounds in 2006.

Tomlin has come back quickly from Tommy John surgery, and might even get some starts with the Indians before the season's over with, especially if Masterson's injury turns out to be serious. Tomlin is a command pitcher, and usually command is the last thing that comes back after elbow surgery, but in his rehab appearances that hasn't been a problem (0 walks in 27.1 innings). The Indians will have a lot of rotation decisions to make after the season, so it's way too early to project where Tomlin will fit on the depth chart, but he can help his cause by finishing the season strong.

RHP Chen-Chang (CC) Lee - Age 26

  • Acquired: International free agent, 9-16-2008
  • Service Time: 0.0+ (2014 Status: Pre-Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: Yes

Another pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery, Lee briefly appeared with the Indians in July. He finished the minor-league campaign with impressive rates (6.6 H/9, 11.4 SO/9, 2.4 BB/9), and with several players in this year's bullpen likely headed elsewhere after the season (Smith, Albers, Hill, maybe Perez), he has excellent shot at making next year's club out of spring training.

RHP Carlos Carrasco - Age 26

  • Acquired: Trade: Philadelphia, 7-29-2009
  • Service Time: 3.0+ (2014 Status: Arbitration)
  • 2014 Option: No (99% sure)

Tim is running out for Carrasco, who has been awful as a starter in Cleveland despite dominating AAA hitters. An encouraging developing is his success out of the bullpen, which could lead to a permanent role change next year. I'm fairly certain that he's out of options now, so the Indians could end up trading him a la Jeanmar Gomez over the winter.