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Tyler Naquin sent packing to Columbus

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This week in transactions, it actually happened: The Indians optioned Naquin rather than Almonte

MLB: Spring Training-Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Transactions

April 13

Activated OF Lonnie Chisenhall from the 10-day Disabled List

Optioned OF Tyler Naquin to Columbus (AAA)

One of the reasons why baseball is so interesting to me is the number of times your narratives get completely upended. For the last several weeks I’ve said that I doubt that Naquin would fall from grace quickly enough to be the outfielder optioned when Lonnie Chisenhall returned. But that’s exactly what happened, though it wasn’t entirely Naquin’s doing.

Abraham Almonte, the perceived optionee, had a good 10 days at the plate, hitting .313/.476/.375. Meanwhile Naquin not only had bad results (.235/.278/.294), but also showed that he still is having trouble with laying off/making contact with pitches high in the strike zone. And there was the roster makeup to think about as well. Terry Francona mentioned that with Michael Brantley still working his way back into an everyday role, having a switch-hitting outfielder in the lineup was a better fit, as usually Brantley is given off days against left-handed pitching.

The most interesting part of this move, though, is that Lonnie Chisenhall played center field last night instead of his normal right field. Prior to last night Chisenhall played a grand total of eight innings in center, which tells me either that the Indians think he has the potential to be a decent defender, regardless of who else is on the roster, or that he’s the best of the available options against right-handed pitching. The Indians could also be contemplating how the roster would look with Tyler Naquin back, but as a right fielder. Chisenhall did play some in center field in his minor-league rehab, so his start wasn’t a spur of the moment decision by Francona. Chisenhall’s defense in right, which was excellent in 2015, fell off quite a bit in 2016, so I don’t quite understand why he’d be better in center than right. But like with yesterday’s roster decision, I’m eagerly anticipating the possibility of being wrong.

Latest 25-man/40-man roster

April 14 2017

The roster goes into regular-season mode, with weekly bWAR updates. If you’d like me to add other stats to the list, please let me know in the comments below. If you’d still like to take a look at the financial picture, you can view last week’s roster here.

I very much anticipate that Shawn Armstrong will be optioned to Columbus tonight in order to make room for another pitcher. Thanks to Josh Tomlin’s short start, the bullpen (including Michael Martinez) needed to throw 7.1 innings. Armstrong had to throw 49 pitches, so he wouldn’t be available tonight anyway, and I’m pretty sure the Indians would rather not use Zach McAllister (25 pitches) either.