The Cleveland Indians have not made any major improvements to their outfield so far this offseason, but they could be looking internally for a replacement instead. According to Chris Antonetti, Jose Ramirez and Chris Johnson could be in the mix for the outfield spots along with the other players acquired this offseason.
There is no reason to believe Ramirez or Johnson will get significant playing time at any of the three outfield positions, but both could be perfectly fine stopgaps while Michael Brantley returns from torn labrum surgery, or the occasional spot start if any of the others need a day off. Ramirez has only played two games in the outfield in his career, but he could be athletic enough to make the transition, similar to Lonnie Chisenahll’s move from third base to right field. Johnson does not have the same versatility of Ramirez, and he has only played a 2.0 innings of his career in a position other than third base or first base.
This should not come as an indication that the Indians are giving up on acquiring anyone else, but it may mean they are not planning any long-term solutions this offseason. To this point, they have mostly only been connected to aging veterans like Shane Victorino and Rajai Davis. Assuming there is no smoke and mirrors at play here, the Tribe seem to be casting a wide net for outfield help, instead of hanging their hat on big acquisition.
So, including the idea of Ramirez and Johnson as options for playing time in the outfield, that means the Indians have 11 outfielders on the 40-man roster: Abraham Almonte, Michael Brantley, Joey Butler, Lonnie Chisenhall, Collin Cowgill, Tyler Naquin, James Ramsey, Jerry Sands, Zach Walters, Jose Ramirez, and Chris Johnson. Throw everything at a wall and hope something sticks.