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How would you fix a perfectly balanced Indians roster?

Rob Manos has balanced the Indians’ 40-man roster. But at what cost?

Dread it. Run from it. Pace of play still arrives.

Those were the words uttered by the dreaded Rob Manos, moments before he snapped his fingers, and in an instant, wiped out half the Indians’ 40-man roster.

No one knows why he did it, only that he smiled as he did. Did he have a huge bet placed on the Tribe in 2016? Was this another stipulation of getting the 2019 All-Star game in Cleveland? Was he trying to earn the love of Bartolo Colon? Could he just not stand a player like Francisco Lindor having such a perfect smile? Maybe we were never meant to know. All we know is, we’re left to pick up the pieces.

The other 29 clubs watched in horror as a perfectly balanced selection of the Indians’ 40-man roster vanished. Half the team gone in an instant, the universe split into four dimensions where randomized, balanced, general managers would be forced to rebuild a team to compete.

“I don’t feel so good Mr. Antonetti,” said a stoic Corey Kluber as he dissolved and drifted away in a light breeze.

The Indians were snapped, half the roster was in the soulstone, and overly strict, ultimately useless, pace of play rules were now mandatory across all off baseball. Manos had won.

The great snappening

As an attempt to capitalize off the popularity of /r/thanosdidnothingwrong banning half their subreddit the world’s biggest Marvel fan, I thought it’d be fun to *snap* half the Indians roster away at random and have Let’s Go Tribe staff members — Matt Schlichting, Chris Davis, Tyler Griffith, and Blake Ruane — attempt to re-assemble something resembling a baseball team. It’s an idea I wish I had about three days earlier so it would come out in the massive wave of Thanos popularity, but I am not a smart man.

To make things even, I took a Google Sheet, slapped a RANDBETWEEN() in there and deleted whichever player’s corresponding number appeared in the cell. Repeat until 20 players were forever trapped in the soulstone.

Because Rob Manos is not a total monster, he let the general manager of each dimension count their disabled list (which, at the time of the snap, was four) in addition to the 20 snapped away. So they were left with 24 souls remaining, 16 spots to fill, and a lot of head scratching.

Here are the results of the sloppy, yet effective enough, process:

Indians-40 man rosters after The Snap

Team Griffith Team Schlichting Team Ruane Team Davies
Team Griffith Team Schlichting Team Ruane Team Davies
Andrew Miller Ben Taylor Ben Taylor Adam Plutko
Ben Taylor Bradley Zimmer Brandon Guyer Andrew Miller
Brandon Guyer Brandon Guyer Cody Anderson Ben Taylor
Cody Allen Carlos Carrasco Edwin Encarnacion Brandon Guyer
Corey Kluber Dan Otero Eric Haase Carlos Carrasco
Dan Otero Edwin Encarnacion Eric Stamets Danny Salazar
Eric Haase Eric Haase Erik Gonzalez Erik Gonzalez
Erik Gonzalez Eric Stamets Evan Marshall Francisco Lindor
Evan Marshall Francisco Lindor Francisco Lindor Francisco Mejia
Francisco Lindor Greg Allen James Hoyt James Hoyt
Jose Ramirez James Hoyt Jose Ramirez Jose Ramirez
Lonnie Chisenhall Josh Tomlin Josh Tomlin Josh Tomlin
Marc Rzepczynski Julian Merryweather Julian Merryweather Lonnie Chisenhall
Mike Clevinger Marc Rzepczynski Marc Rzepczynski Michael Brantley
Nick Goody Michael Brantley Mike Clevinger Mike Clevinger
Oliver Perez Mike Clevinger Nick Goody Nick Goody
Roberto Perez Nick Goody Oliver Perez Oliver Perez
Trevor Bauer Ryan Merritt Rajai Davis Roberto Perez
Tyler Naquin Trevor Bauer Ryan Merritt Ryan Merritt
Tyler Olson Tyler Olson Trevor Bauer Shane Bieber
Willi Castro Willi Castro Tyler Naquin Tyler Naquin
Yandy Diaz Yandy Diaz Tyler Olson Willi Castro
Yonder Alonso Yonder Alonso Yandy Diaz Yan Gomes
Yu Chang Zach McAllister Yu Chang Yu Chang

If you ask me, poor Blake was absolutely shafted in this process.

Everyone was instructed to rebuild the team with the idea that the snap happened immediately on Tuesday, July 9. They could safely assume teams have sympathy towards them — after all, everyone just watched half of the Indians just vanish in thin air — so they would have a slight advantage in trades. Other than that, the baseball world was their oyster as they attempted to make a competitive team. However they saw fit.

Here’s how they handled it.

Team Schlichting

Thanos ensured that half of the Cleveland Indians suddenly never existed, and it fell to me to put together a winning roster in the aftermath.

So no, things are going too great in this universe at the moment. Just to take stock, let’s see what our starting lineup might look like with the survivors. My assumption in this drill is to build a team that is capable of being competent for the rest of the season without completely blowing things up. If this really happened, I would immediately trade every remaining good player and rebuild from scratch. I’m sure Lindor, Bauer, Carrasco, and friends could all find good homes in exchange for prospects. That’s not what we’re dealing with, though.

And a handful of iffy relievers. It’s worth noting that despite the complete lack of depth, the batting lineup is at least still reasonable.

My first move would still be to DFA Josh Tomlin.

After that, it’s clear that a non-traditional approach to the pitching staff is necessary. Given the catastrophe we will assume that everyone is willing to buy-in to something unusual in order to make things work. I’d go ahead and call up Triston McKenzie and go for three triads to make things happen on the mound:

  1. Opener: Julian Merryweather. Starter: Mike Clevinger. Reliever, if needed: Dan Otero.
  2. Opener: Tyler Olson. Starter: Carlos Carrasco. Reliever, if needed: Zach McAllister.
  3. Opener: Trevor Bauer. Starter: Trevor Bauer. Reliever, if needed: Trevor Bauer.
  4. Reliever at large: Triston McKenzie, with Ryan Merritt to mop-up.

Bauer finally gets his witch to pitch about 300 innings in one season. Things still aren’t all that pretty. Scrabble and Ben Taylor fill in as needed in disaster games, I guess.

If I had to make a trade, I’d pretty much have to ship Bobby Bradley and Nolan Jones to pick up much-needed pitching help. At the end of the day I think the best this team could ever hope to finish is about ten games below .500 over the course of a full season.

Team Davies


  1. Carlos Carrasco* - R
  2. Mike Clevinger* - R
  3. Steven Matz* - L
  4. Shane Bieber* - R
  5. Adam Plutko* - R
  6. Ryan Merritt - L
  7. Alexi Ogando - R
  8. Aaron Civale - R
  9. Eli Morgan - R

Danny Salazar - R

Josh Tomlin - R


  1. Andrew Miller* - L
  2. Joe Jimenez* - R
  3. Adam Cimber* - R
  4. Lou Trivino* - R
  5. Oliver Perez* - R
  6. James Hoyt* - R
  7. Blaine Hardy* - L
  8. Cole Sulser* - R
  9. Jack Leathersich - L
  10. George Kontos - R
  11. Robert Zarate - L
  12. Kieran Lovegrove - R

Ben Taylor - R

Nick Goody - R


  1. Mark Reynolds* - L
  2. Francisco Lindor* - S
  3. Jose Ramirez* - S
  4. Jose Martinez* - R
  5. Lourdes Gurriel* - R
  6. Willi Castro - S

Yu Chang

Erik Gonzalez


  1. Francisco Mejia* - S
  2. Yan Gomes* - R
  3. Eric Haase - R

Roberto Perez


  1. Michael Brantley* - L
  2. Adam Jones* - R
  3. Brandon Guyer* - R
  4. Domingo Santana* - R
  5. Tyler Naquin* - L
  6. Mike Papi - L
  7. Connor Marabell - L

Lonnie Chisenhall - L

Asterisks indicate 25-man roster. Added to the 40-man from minors: Ogando, Civale, Morgan, Sulser, Leathersich, Kontos, Zarate, Lovegrove, Haase, Papi, Marabell

For the rotation, I can’t justify Plutko and Merritt, so I go with Carrasco, Clevinger, Bieber, Plutko. For a trade I’m turning to the Mets...but I’m not asking for the guy most people want. I’m swapping shortstop depth, Yu Chang, and Shao-Ching Chiang from Columbus for Steven Matz. He’ll slot in nicely between Clev and Bieber and give me a lefty.

In the bullpen, Hoyt gets called up, but Taylor and Goody are injured (I’m assuming Miller is able to come back in this scenario), so I need at least 4 arms. This is a big need, so I’m going big and swapping Triston McKenzie and Bobby Bradley for the TigersJoe Jimenez as well as Blaine Hardy for good measure. Then I’ll send Roberto Perez to Oakland for Lou Trivino, and the husk of Danny Salazar to the Padres, who love pitching reclamation projects, for Adam Cimber.

The snap spared Frankie and Jose, praise be, but I need a first baseman. The Nationals have redundant first basemen, so I’m bringing back old pal Mark Reynolds for the low, low price of one Josh Tomlin. This one relies on more than a little goodwill, but I’m counting on the Nats also waving the white flag as they get lapped by the Barves and Phils. To share time at first and also serve as DH, I’m sending Zach Plesac and Sicnarf Loopstok to the Cardinals for Jose Martinez. Meanwhile, Lourdes Gurriel was added from the Jays for a player to be named later or cash as a gift from old friend Mark Shapiro. As for catcher, Francisco Mejia gets the chance to stick in a timeshare with Yan Gomes and Eric Haase gets added to the 40-man as backup, easy-peezy.

Chisenhall’s long-term calf injury and the overall lefty-heavy makeup of this group are alarming. So, I get Adam Jones from the Orioles. He’s been worth -0.1 bWAR this year, so I think he can be had more cheaply, say, for Mitch Longo and Rob Kaminsky. Finally, I’m going to try to help the Brewers’ maligned middle infield and relieve them of an outfield glut by swapping Erik Gonzalez (the toughest trade yet) for Domingo Santana.

Team Ruane

Catcher (3)

Chris Gimenez*
Eric Haase*
Jonathan Lucroy

Thanos cleared the way for Erica Haase to take his rightful place behind the dish at Progressive Field, but not so fast! The Cubs released Chris Gimenez earlier this month. Their loss! I’ll be claiming him, in large part because I still fondly remember that time he was going to fight Billy Butler at home plate after Butler finished his home run trot.

I will also be trading for Jonathan Lucroy and sending him outright to Triple-A Columbus, where he can continue his development into a big league catcher.

First Base (2)

Bobby Bradley*
Edwin Encarnacion*

I’ve promoted Bobby Bradley from Double-A Akron to alternate between first base and designated hitter with Edwin Encarnacion.

Second Base (2)

Erik Gonzalez*
Whit Merrifield*

I guess we know where Thanos landed on the Kipnis vs E-Gon debate. To back up Gonzalez, I’m going to reach across the isle and pluck Whit Merrifield out of Kansas City. All Royals GM Dayton Moore asked in return was veto power over our clubhouse’s magazine subscriptions.

Third Base (3)

Jose Ramirez*
Yandy Diaz*
Nolan Jones

Nolan Jones is added to the 40-man roster. Just because.

Shortstop (3)

Francisco Lindor*
Yu-Chen Chang
Eric Stamets

All you need is love Lindor.

Outfield (7)

Will Benson
Rajai Davis*
Dexter Fowler*
Brandon Guyer*
Tyler Naquin*
Grady Sizemore

We all know how much the St. Louis Cardinals organization and their fans seem to hate Dexter Fowler, so it didn’t take much to grease the wheels of that trade. All I had to do was give back Rob Kaminsky. Off the bench, I’m promoting Will Benson from Lake County, because development is a luxury we can no longer afford in a perfectly balanced universe.

And because I love Bull Durham, I’ll be signing Grady Sizemore to serve in a Crash Davis role for Benson while he is in Triple-A Columbus.

Starting Pitchers (8)

  1. Trevor Bauer*
  2. Jacob DeGrom*
  3. Mike Clevinger*
  4. Triston McKenzie*
  5. Bartolo Colon*

+ Josh Tomlin, Ryan Merritt, and Cody Anderson

I’ve promoted Triston McKenzie from Double-A Akron, and traded pitching coach Carl Willis and the ashes of Francisco Mejia and Shane Bieber to the New York Mets in exchange for Mickey Callaway and starting pitcher Jacob DeGrom.

I’ll also be trading for Bartolo Colon, because everyone loves a homecoming.

Whenever Ryan Merritt (60-Day DL) emerges from the dugout in Triple-A Columbus and sees his shadow, he’ll replace Colon in the rotation, but until then, we’ll have to settle for an adventure every five days. I also have Cody Anderson (60-Day DL), which is nice.

Bullpen (12)

Shane Greene*
James Hoyt*
George Kontos*
Alexi Ogando*
Oliver Perez*
Marc Rzepczynski*
Ben Taylor
Kirby Yates*

+ Nick Goody, Evan Marshall, Julian Merryweather, and Tyler Olson (DL)

Oh, boy. What a crew to begin with. No closer. No set-up man. Just Oliver “O.P.” Perez, a man nicknamed “Scrabble,” and two no-namers. I’m promoting George Kontos and Alexi Ogando from Triple-A Columbus, because desperate times call for desperate measures. Once he is activated from the DL, I’ll trade for Sheene Greene of the Detroit Tigers to serve as our closer, because God knows Detroit doesn’t need a closer. In exchange, I’m sending them some cash so they don’t have to mortgage Comerica Park to afford Miguel Cabrera’s contract. For a set-up man, I’m going to snag Kirby Yates from San Diego. In return, the Padres will receive the ashes of Corey Kluber, in case the Avengers are able to reverse Thanos’ snap and restore the two-time Cy Young winner to life.

*25-Man Roster

Team Griffith

First of all, how dare you. My two favorite players on the team, Jason Kipnis and Danny Salazar, were both snapped. Thanos is supposed to be random, not cruel and unusual. Thanos would be a Lawful Evil because he has a code of conduct he follows.

Anyway, I’m trying to put together my 25-man roster so that it can actually play against other baseball teams. As it currently stands, I don’t need to make any changes at catcher, first base, or second base.

I have too many third basemen, shortstops, and relief pitchers. I’m down an outfielder, a DH, a utility fielder, and two starting pitchers.

First off, congratulations to Triston McKenzie! Not only did you survive the snap, you’ve also been promoted to the Cleveland Indians! I hope you’re ready because things just got really weird and now it’s your job to pitch this team to a championship. No pressure.

Second, Jose Ramirez is going to slide over to second base so Erik Gonzalez can be our utility infielder. This opens up a spot for Yandy Diaz to be the full time third baseman. DON’T ASK ME WHY, THE BAD NEWS IS COMING.

Additionally, Bobby Bradley is getting the call and he’s going to slot in at first base while Yonder Alonso slides over to the DH role. Some young blood may do this team good.

I hate to do it, but one of either Francisco Lindor or Jose Ramirez has to go. They’re incredibly valuable right now and other teams can get me multiple pieces to fill out the remainder of my roster. Additionally, Thanos somehow spared me both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. I’m thinking that I can package one of each pair (balanced, as all things should be) and I can finish the rest of my 25-man roster. I’m now missing an outfielder and a starting pitcher. Looking over at this article, the Rays seem to be one of Cleveland’s most prominent trade partners. I call up Mr. Erik Neander (Rays GM) and tell him what’s happened. He’s sympathetic to Cleveland’s plight and wants to help. His team is in a tough division and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight and he knows that Cleveland had a real shot to win it all before Starlord went and messed it up for everyone. His legacy can be one of altruism and mercy, so he decides that he’s going to help out the Indians. After some negotiations, he agrees to the following trade:

Tampa Bay receives: Andrew Miller (RP), Francisco Lindor (SS)
Cleveland receives: Blake Snell (SP), Mallex Smith (OF)

Hey I don’t like Lindor going to the AL East any more than you do. But at least he’s not in pinstripes, right?

All things considered, this trade may be a bit more skewed in favor of Cleveland, but Tampa didn’t just lose half of their players in some freak cosmic genocide. And Neander feels horrible that Snell was snubbed for the All-Star team and feels that he’ll do much better in a Whatever he has to tell himself to sleep at night. And Mallex is fast on the base paths and can hold his own in the outfield. So here’s what we’ve got:

C: Roberto Perez, Eric Haase
1B: Bobby Bradley
2B: Jose Ramirez
3B: Yandy Diaz
SS: Yu Chang
OF: Brandon Guyer, Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin, Mallex Smith
DH: Yonder Alonso
UTIL: Erik Gonzalez
SP: Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, Triston McKenzie
RP: Ben Taylor, Cody Allen, Dan Otero, Evan Marshall, Marc Rzepczynski, Nick Goody, Oliver Perez, Tyler Olson

Overall, the team isn’t that bad. The starting rotation is still great, and the offense has only several black holes instead of all of the black holes. But a lot of those black holes are simply unknown because they’re young players who haven’t been tested at the major league level yet. They could be good, right? Ramirez and Smith should help anchor the lineup, and everyone who’s been clamoring for Jason Kipnis to be replaced by Erik Gonzalez, you’ve got your wish you monsters. My only hope is that Brandon Guyer remembers how to hit against left handed pitching and Lonnie Chisenhall’s calves decide to stop breaking.

Oh, and the bullpen is still seven different kinds of terrible. But you wanted something to remind you of the time before the snap, didn’t you?