Latest 40-man Roster
The big news of the week is Salazar’s injury*, which will keep him out of action through at least the rest of the regular season. And given how he pitched the last time he missed time (lasted only an inning against the White Sox in August), I think it’s unlikely he pitches in the playoffs. So that means the Indians have a couple different decisions to make:
- Filling Salazar’s spot in the rotation through the rest of the regular season. There’s no great solution, but it is an obvious one: move Josh Tomlin back into the rotation. With a gazillion pitchers in the bullpen now, the Indians can handle filling the innings behind Tomlin (and Clevinger), but the team does need to still win games, and you can’t realistically hope to win consistently when your starter is going three innings (as has happened with both Tomlin and Clevinger.) The good news is that neither Tomlin nor Clevinger will pitch against the Tigers, and if the Indians do well this weekend, neither pitcher would be starting a meaningful game the rest of the regular season, and Francona can use their remaining starts to stretch both pitchers out in case they are needed in the postseason.
- Filling Salazar’s spot in the rotation in a potential playoff series. Here is where the options are less clear cut. The Indians can get through a potential 5-game ALDS with just three starters, but one of those starters would need to start Game 4 on three days’ rest. Normally you’d rather not do that, but starting Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco on short rest is in my opinion preferable to going with Tomlin or Clevinger on full rest. Also, the series itself may dictate what Francona does; if the Indians lead the series 2-1 going into Game 4, then he might go with the fourth starter, whoever that may be, but down 2-1 he might be forced to go with his ace on short rest. If the Indians make it to the ALCS or World Series, the Indians would have to use four starters.
One other decision that the Indians will need to make soon is who to boot off the 40-man roster to make room for Yan Gomes. Yan is eligible to come off the 60-day Disabled List later this week, although the Indians will try to keep giving him reps in the minors for as long as the Ducks or the Hillcats remain in the playoffs. But eventually Gomes will need to return to the active roster. Adam Moore would seem to be the logical choice to go when the Indians do activate Gomes.
Recalled RHP Shawn Armstrong from Lake County (A-)
The Indians were able to recall Armstrong this quickly (he had been optioned on August 31) because Lake County’s season ended, which is one of the exceptions to the 10-day waiting period before an optioned player can be recalled again.
Sent C Yan Gomes to Columbus (AAA) on rehab assignment
Sent C Yan Gomes to Akron (AA) on rehab assignment
Columbus headed on the road in their playoff series with Gwinnett, while Akron headed home in their series with Altoona, hence the switch in assignment. The Ducks won their series, and will start the next series at home tonight (the 13th). So if everything goes right, Gomes can play tonight and tomorrow with Akron, then be activated when the Indians return home.
Recalled RHP Austin Adams from Columbus (AAA)
Adams was recalled just in case the Indians needed an extra arm for Saturday’s game, as Clevinger was making the start.
Recalled LHP Ryan Merritt and 1B Jesus Aguilar from Columbus (AAA)
Columbus was eliminated on Saturday, and with that the Indians recalled two more players, giving them 36 players on the activate roster. Assuming Gomes replaces Moore, the only four players on the 40-man roster who aren’t with the Indians are Shawn Morimando, TJ House, Giovanny Urshela, and Dylan Baker (who is recovering from Tommy John surgery). There has been a lot of chatter (the CBA expires after the season) about restricting how many players a team can recall in September, or even requiring players to be placed on “active list” in order to play in a game or a series, so perhaps this is the last time we’ll see this many players in uniform at the same time.
*There is no 15-day Disabled List in September, so there will be no roster move associated with Salazar.