This is old news, but since I was away this weekend I didn’t get a chance to cover it. Mitch Talbot was named the fourth starter, with Aaron Laffey to go to the pen. Now, this normally would mean that David Huff would land the fifth starter’s job, but Carlos Carrasco has vaulted himself into contention for the last rotation spot.
So now it’s on Huff the Magic Lefty to impress the Indians enough on Wednesday to earn the starting gig. If he falters, it could get real interesting for Manny Acta on Thursday, the deadline Acta has imposed on making the final roster decisions, which are the aforementioned final rotation spot, left field (and then the fourth outfielder), utility infielder and the last two bullpen spots.
(I should note that when I say fourth or fifth starter, that Talbot and whoever wins the final spot might flip flop to prevent the rotation from being too right-handed heavy)
I agree with Castro on pretty much all of his roster (although I haven’t really been paying too much attention to the bullpen battle between Jensen Lewis, Jamey Wright and Saul Rivera), except for Brantley making the roster. I just don’t think it’s a sound decision by the Indians to sacrifice a year of control of Brantley.
All in all, it’s been a very impressive spring for the Tribe, a spring that’s even made me doubt my original predictions of how bad this team was going to be. That being said, I think the enthusiasm needs to be tempered, due to the fact that this is still spring training, and it’s pretty meaningless usually. April is the cruelest month in baseball to many players, and this team could quickly find itself sinking. I’d hate to lose a year of Brantley just to watch him slog through a mess of a losing season. Now, as I’ve proved time and again, I’m often wrong, and maybe Brantley will spark the Indians into contention. But I just don’t see it happening, not this season.
What I’d be thrilled with this season is positive steps forward from the guys like Sizemore, Hafner, Carmona, LaPorta, Masterson or anybody who figures to be on this team long-term (Not you, Russell Branyan). Contention would be wonderful, but not at the sacrifice of player development. That needs to be the number one focus of this Indians team if they want to be true contenders for their next window of opportunity.
Either way, we shall see what the 2010 Cleveland Indians opening day roster looks like on Thursday. 6 days till Opening Day!