The Cleveland Indians announced a flurry of moves today, making their Opening Day roster one step away from being official. Outfielder Marlon Byrd, outfielder Collin Cowgill, and reliever Dan Otero have all been informed that they will make the Opening Day Roster while reliever Kyle Crockett was optioned to Triple-A. The Indians also announced that Lonnie Chisenhall will start the season on the disabled list with a left wrist injury, retroactive to March 28.
With these moves in place, we have a realistic idea of what we could see on Opening Day. Unfortunately, the outfield will be a mishmash of backup players until Chisenhall and Brantley return healthy. Some combination of Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin, Marlon Byrd, and Collin Cowgill will be handling all three outfield positions, at least for a few days, with Jose Ramirez serving as a quasi-fifth outfielder if he is needed.
Chisenhall will start the year on the disabled list, retroactive to today. Meaning, if all goes well, he could return to the team as early as April 12 when the Indians begin their series against the Tampa Bay Rays. When he does return, Collin Cowgill will most likely be the odd man out on the 25-man roster, unless he shows something extraordinary in the first week of the season.
Kyle Crockett being sent down to Triple-A is a bit of a disappointment, but the Indians do not feel they are able to carry a strict lefty specialist on the roster right now. Instead, they went with Ross Detwiler, a lefty reliever like Crockett who has a better (albeit still not great) track record against right-handed batters.
The last remaining question for the Opening Day roster is who will win between Josh Tomlin and Cody Anderson for the fifth starter position. Terry Francona already said previously this spring that Tomlin will be playing out of the bullpen early in the season, so most likely he gets the nod while Anderson starts 2016 in Columbus. With Chisenhall starting the season on the disabled list, it could also allow him to carry both pitchers for the first couple weeks. If not, they will have an open spot on the roster.