With September 1 just days away, Major League rosters are set to expand. As is the case every year, big league clubs call up some of their prospects and give them an opportunity to show what they can do in The Show. Of course teams that are out of contention are likely to give more playing time to minor leaguers as are teams who have locked up their respective divisions. For teams like the Indians who are still in a state of limbo, the minor leaguers called up are mainly for depth. With a playoff spot on the line they are unlikely to see much time. That said, this week’s question for the staff is: What potential September call ups are you most looking forward to seeing? Here’s what they had to say.
Steve Kinsella: Matt LaPorta. Getting him on the 40-man roster would be a trick and many fans have already given up on him as a 4-A player. I, on the other hand, like guys that can turn a mistake into a home run. LaPorta has the one skill that can turn a deficit into a tie or a lead in the late innings and I’d like to see that skill on the bench. Additionally, I wouldn’t be too shy about putting LaPorta on the 40-man roster as it is a move I’d like to see the organization make over the winter anyways.
Ed Carroll: I’d be ok with calling up Tim Federoff and Josh Tomlin, but other than that, I don’t want a bunch of September call ups. It’s not worth it to me to burn option years on guys and start their service clock (Jose Ramirez) or to have to move guys off the 40-man roster for a short-term stay of a player (to accommodate maybe a guy like Matt LaPorta). But the only significant call ups this September should be relievers – namely former setup man Vinnie Pestano – and they should be used to help keep guys like Chris Perez and Cody Allen from being overworked, as well as insurance for the pitch/inning restrictions on Danny Salazar and Tomlin, both recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Evan Vogel: I’m looking forward to C.C. Lee getting a similar shot that Cory Allen had late last season, when he established himself as a valuable piece to the bullpen. Yes, he too is coming back from elbow surgery, like Danny Salazar and Josh Tomlin, but the club needs to see him get Major League hitters out as they potentially prepare for life without Joe Smith, who is a free agent after the season.
Overall, the bullpen arms are the most interesting. Beyond Lee, I’d like to see more of Nick Hagadone, T.J. House, Preston Guilmet, Trey Haley, and, of course, the return of Vinnie Pestano.
The offensive options on the 40-man roster are pretty gross. Maybe Cord Phelps can get another look as a utility infielder and Tim Fedroff can show enough to be the 25th man next season, but outside of adding Matt LaPorta to the 40-man roster and giving him one last look, I wouldn’t want any of the men on the 25-man roster currently to lose at-bats.
Michael Chaney: I’m all for getting a sneak preview of guys who could find themselves as major league regulars down the line. But I agree with Ed in that I really don’t want a lot of guys being called up at this point. As he mentioned, it pretty much wastes an option year, but I also don’t really want to examine some of these young, unproven guys when the Indians are still in the thick of the playoff race.
With that being said, I can’t wait to see Vinnie Pestano back. Demoted after the acquisition of Marc Rzepczynski, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Tribe demoting him. However, there was some reasoning behind it (he had been struggling and a demotion would give him a better opportunity to work on his mistakes). Overall, I really want whatever is best for Pestano — as do the Indians.
When healthy (which he hasn’t always been this season), it’s easy to tell why Pestano is one of the best setup men in today’s game. He strikes out more than a batter per inning, and has typically done well to limit walks. He serves as the perfect bridge to Chris Perez, and forms a lethal late-inning trio with Perez and Joe Smith. It’s unrealistic to expect those same results from Pestano the rest of this season, but a short stint with Columbus may have been all he needs to get back on track.
Kyle Downing: I’m looking forward to seeing a (fingers crossed) improved version of Vinnie Pestano. I’m also wondering if we’ll see Trevor Bauer work out of the bullpen. I’d also like to get a first look at TJ House at the big league level.
Katrina Putnam: There aren’t many position players that would be exciting September call-ups, but the extra bullpen help will definitely be nice. Mostly, I just want Vinnie Pestano back. The unexpected trip back to Columbus was probably the best solution for him, but he’s pitched well enough lately to warrant his return. September is also a good opportunity to see Nick Hagadone again, as well as Preston Guilmet, but Josh Tomlin is probably the player I’m most excited about. It’s hard to tell how much his injury contributed to his struggles, and it will be interesting to watch him now that he’s recovered.
I would (surprisingly) give Matt LaPorta another shot. While he probably will never be a productive major-leaguer for the Indians, who knows how long his injury was affecting his ability to play? If he has a hot September, it might give the Tribe a better opportunity to trade him this winter. If he doesn’t, it costs the team absolutely nothing.
Brian Heise: Out of all the possible options, I’m going to dip back into the Matt LaPorta well. I don’t think he was given a fair chance with Manny Acta and I think the Indians need to give him one more chance to prove himself at the big league level. If he could ever figure out his mechanics and get his head on straight he could still be a serious power threat. Just ask Chris Davis how that worked out for him.