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The return of the Indians outfielders

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Also, way too many words on why Daniel Robertson still has an option year.

Texas Rangers v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Transactions

June 23

Activated RHP Cody Allen from the Paternity List

Optioned RHP Adam Plutko to Columbus (AAA)

Allen officially missed one day, but was away from the club two days. Meanwhile Plutko returns to Columbus not having pitched in an MLB game despite having spent seven days with the team.

June 26

Activated OF Michael Brantley and OF Brandon Guyer from the 10-day Disabled List

Optioned RHP Shawn Armstrong and OF Daniel Robertson to Columbus (AAA)

This brought the bullpen back to seven relievers, the minimum level allowed by Terry Francona. With Jackson’s injury, I think Francona will take turns playing Guyer in place of Lonnie Chisenhall and Bradley Zimmer against left-handers, or even some right-handers (as was the case yesterday)

I was taken aback that Robertson, who has spent 10 different seasons in the minors, still had an option remaining, but after looking into his transaction history (scroll all the way to the bottom), he hasn’t spent that much time on a team’s 40-man roster while in the minors. Here’s a quick thumbnail sketch of his moves:

2014: Made his major-league (and I believe 40-man roster debut) while with the Rangers. Optioned on May 7th, but recalled on May 18th, meaning that the option year wasn’t used (fewer than 20 days in the minors). Spent the remainder of the 2014 season with the Rangers. No option used.

2015: Traded to the Angels in the offseason. Optioned on April 5, recalled on June 14th, optioned on July 29th, recalled on September 8th. Option year #1 used.

2016: Claimed on waivers by the Mariners in the offseason, later DFAed and outrighted to minors. Contract purchased on July 20th, DFAed again on August 12th, outrighted again on August 15th. He spent 23 days in the minors before the DFA, so Option year #2 used.

2017: Signed a minor-league deal with the Indians, contract purchased on May 14th, optioned on June 26. Option year #3 will be used if he’s still in the minors (and on the 40-man roster) on July 15.

June 26

Placed OF Austin Jackson on the 10-day Disabled List (left quad)

Recalled RHP Shawn Armstrong from Columbus (AAA)

Everything was going so well for Austin Jackson, and then this happened. The timing is fortuitous for the Indians, in that both Brandon Guyer and Michael Brantley were ready to come off the Disabled List, but Jackson could have had an important (but diminished) role on the roster even with five outfielders. This could open up a spot for Abe Almonte when he’s ready to return, or the Indians could elect to stick with four outfielders and eight relievers with Zimmer playing so well.

Normally a player cannot be recalled within ten days of being optioned, but a club can recall a player before the ten days are up in case of an injury. Also! If you are wonder (based on Robertson’s option adventures above) whether the Indians have used Armstrong’s option yet, the answer is (surprisingly) no. The closest they came was when Armstrong was in the minors from April 14-May 2 (18 days). The Indians did use up their options on Armstrong in 2015 and 2016, so if they use an option this year, he can’t be optioned next year. But so far, they haven’t used it.

[edit] As mentioned by barsham below in the comments, the 20 days refers to total time in the minors in one season, not 20 consecutive days on one optional assignment. So the Indians have used up Armstrong’s option, as he has spent well over 20 days in the minors this season.

July 1

Placed RHP Joe Colon on the Restricted List

Colon tested positive for a PED, his second time doing so. He’s been suspended for the rest of the season. The Indians are able to open up a free 40-man roster spot by placing him on the Restricted list.

Recalled LHP Ryan Merritt from Columbus (AAA) - 26th man

The Indians weren’t going to start Merritt for either game even before last Friday’s rainout, but he was on the roster in case the Indians got into a blowout. As it turned out, he wasn’t even used in relief.

July 2

Optioned LHP Ryan Merritt to Columbus (AAA)

July 5

Placed 1B Carlos Santana on the Paternity List

Activated OF Abraham Almonte from the 10-day Disabled List

The Indians still haven’t burned Almonte’s option, but probably will have to once Santana returns to the club. The Indians could option Shawn Armstrong in order to keep Almonte on the roster, but I think they prefer an 8-man bullpen over a 4-man bench.

Current 40-man roster

July 7 2017

Both Jose Ramirez and Corey Kluber had ridiculously good months, and both are among the leaders in Wins above Replacement in their respective categories.

Danny Salazar has made a couple of rehab appearance, and neither has gone well. With Mike Clevinger pitching well, I don’t think the team is any hurry to bring him back to the roster.