As Spring Training closes in less than two weeks, Indians manager Manny Acta has a few position battles to referee to make up the 25 man roster for Opening Day. The Indians signed a bunch of extra guys to camp to assure they had all spots filled. Here are the position battles: (All predictions are barring injury)
5th starter: Kevin Slowey, Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff, Zach McAllister
Jeanmar Gomez has performed the best this spring but Kevin Slowey has a legit beef to be in the rotation. Slowey has more experience and a $1.5 million dollar contract so the Indians might feel obligated to keep him in the rotation at the beginning. I don’t think numbers from this spring will play a big part in Manny Acta’s decision. David Huff and Zach McAllister will be options for the rotation at one point but now is not the time for them.
Winner: Kevin Slowey
Bench(4 spots)/3B/LF: Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Jose Lopez, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jack Hannahan, Russ Canzler, Aaron Cunningham, Ryan Spilborghs, Felix Pie
Shelley Duncan will become the starting left fielder, and I feel that Jack Hannahan has the upper hand in getting the 3B position. Lou Marson is guaranteed a bench spot because he is the backup catcher. Jason Donald will be the backup shortstop/second baseman. Now there is two bench spots remaining: With Hannahan starting, Chisenhall would be sent to Columbus in order to get at bats everyday so Lopez would look to be the right-handed hitter to be the backup for the infield. One spot would be given to the fourth outfielder. Theoretically, there are four guys for the one spot. Canzler will be an option later this summer but not out of camp. I feel that the Indians will go with Spilborghs over Cunningham and Pie.
Winner-LF: Shelley Duncan
Winner-3B: Jack Hannahan
Winners-Bench: Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Jose Lopez, and Ryan Spilborghs
2 Bullpen Spots: Frank Herrmann, Nick Hagadone, Chris Ray, Dan Wheeler, Jeremy Accardo, and Robinson Tejeda
Frank Herrmann performed well last year and should be a lock for the “Bullpen Mafia” again. The last spot would either go to Nick Hagadone or Dan Wheeler. Hagadone is on the 40 man roster right now so he might have the upper hand now rather than later. The other five men will definitely help the Indians down the road with extra arms during the summer or when certain injuries arise.
Winners: Frank Herrmann and Nick Hagadone
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your opinions on the battles for the Opening Day roster. 16 Days from Justin Masterson’s first pitch at Progressive Field!