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Week in Transactions: What happens when Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall return?

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In which we look at what will happen to the roster once Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall return from the disabled list.

Cleveland Indians Photo Day
Lonnie Chisenhall is on track to return for the home opener
Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

There aren’t a lot of new developments to discuss, as most of the moves the Indians made before Monday’s opener were talked about last week. The one move we didn’t know about was the release of Tim Cooney (which made room for Michael Martinez or Yandy Diaz - pick one - on the 40-man roster). Cooney later signed a minor-league contract with the Indians, so no one left the organization in the midst of the spring roster moves.

I do want to touch on what will effect Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis returning from the disabled list will have on the 25-man roster. Chisenhall is slated to begin a short rehab assignment tonight, and if all goes well, would in uniform for the home opener this Tuesday (April 11). When Kipnis’ returns is less well known, though he could be back as early as a week from now.

The two players that would be probably sent down are Abraham Almonte (for Lonnie Chisenhall) and Yandy Diaz (for Jason Kipnis). Both Almonte and Diaz have options. I think Almonte is going to be optioned no matter what, given that the decision is only days away, and a week’s worth of performance isn’t going to play any role in that decision.

There’s a slight possibility that Diaz could stay on the roster once Kipnis returns, moving to the outfield, though that would create some positional issues. If, say, Austin Jackson was released, that would mean Tyler Naquin is the only real center fielder on the roster, with his backup being either Michael Martinez or Lonnie Chisenhall (no platoon advantage). The same would hold true if Naquin was optioned: Austin Jackson would be the regular center fielder, something I don’t think the Indians would want. An alternative scenario would be the Indians trading Lonnie Chisenhall, though I don’t see them doing that based on just a couple weeks’ worth of at-bats from Diaz. So even if Diaz does impress over the next 1-2 weeks, he’s going to go to Columbus, and any more drastic move to get him onto the roster would have to come later on in the season, when the team has more of a sample to go by.

Transactions

April 2

Placed 2B Jason Kipnis on the 10-day Disabled List (right shoulder)

Placed OF Lonnie Chisenhall on the 10-Disabled List (retro to March 30) - right shoulder

Placed RHP Cody Anderson on the 60-day Disabled List (Tommy John surgery)

Released LHP Tim Cooney

Purchased the contracts of 3B/OF Yandy Diaz and IF Michael Martinez

April 7 2017