This week in transactions
Recalled RHP Nick Goody from Columbus (AAA)
Optioned RHP Shawn Armstrong to Columbus (AAA)
Armstrong’s demotion was not because of his performance on the mound, but because the Indians needed a fresh arm after Josh Tomlin’s short night on the 13. Armstrong was the only pitcher in the bullpen (aside from Cody Allen) to have an option remaining, so he was the only choice to demote, unless the Indians wanted to option a position player.
Goody had spent his entire pro career in the Yankees organization, and has been a reliever from the get-go. He was traded to the Indians in December for either a PTBNL or cash (he was DFAed to make room for Aroldis Chapman on their 40-man roster), which is probably dependent on what Goody does this year for the Indians. Goody has consistently missed bats in his pro career, and struck out a batter an inning in his 3 innings of work this week. He sports a low-90s fastball, but it’s his slider that has given him his most success. His spot in the bullpen will depend on when the Indians next need a fresh arm.
Latest 25-man/40-man Roster
The Indians are poised to activate Jason Kipnis today, and unless there’s some injury to another player that we don’t know about, Yandy Diaz will be headed back to Columbus. Diaz is too highly thought of to stay on the bench, and with a stacked infield and a healthy Michael Brantley, he isn’t going to get regular at-bats with Kipnis returning. It will be interesting to see where he plays in Columbus, as in winter ball he was primarily an outfielder but was moved back to third base in Spring Training after Kipnis got hurt. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play in a number of positions in Columbus, including first base and the outfield, as the Indians try to figure out not only how they could use him this year, but how he could fit on the roster in years to come.
Diaz is an interesting hitter, as he consistently hit the ball hard, but most of those balls were either low line drives or sharp-hit grounders (of the 42 balls he put in play, only 4 were classified as fly balls). I think if he can start to hit more of those hard-hit balls in the air, then the rest will fall into place. So in that respect, this demotion should help Diaz’s development as a hitter, and allow the Indians to figure out where he fits in their future plans.
The other move that will come from Jason Kipnis’ return will be Jose Ramirez shifting back to third base. Ramirez was fantastic at second, and as the WAR numbers indicate, he’s red hot at the plate as well. He and Lindor have been the offensive standouts in April. Michael Brantley has settled in surprisingly well after missing basically all of 2016. Lonnie Chisenhall, who is now the everyday center fielder (I’m shocked I’m even typing this), has gotten off to a hot start after missing the first 10 days of the season.
On the down side, the Indians are getting bad production from their catchers and their 1B/DH combo. I think most of us expected that from Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez, and can live with it as long as the defense is up to their high standards, but the slow starts for Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion were not expected. But the large sample sizes from both players should eventually shine through - I’m not remotely close to panicking over either player.
These numbers were as of Wednesday, so they don’t include Bauer’s good start yesterday. Tomlin also pitched much better in his last start, though he has a rather large statistical hole to climb up out of.