In search of a starter for tonight’s game against the Reds, the Indians have promoted right-hander Josh Tomlin from Triple-A Columbus.
To clear space on the active roster, outfielder Tyler Holt was optioned to Columbus. The Indians also announced that outfielder Nyjer Morgan was activated from the 60-day DL and subsequently released.
Roster moves today: +@jtomlin43 recalled +Tyler Holt optioned to Columbus +Nyjer Morgan released from contract
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) August 5, 2014
Tomlin will be making his 15th start (16th appearance) of the season tonight against Cincinnati. So far in 2014, Tomlin has posted a 4.47 ERA (4.11 FIP) for the Tribe. He’s posted outstanding peripherals (8.0 K/9, 1.0 BB/9), though he’s also allowed a troubling 1.7 home runs per nine innings.
Holt recently made his major league debut and collected 2 plate appearances, over which he walked and struck out once. He’s been impressive with Columbus this season, and currently carries a .317/.425/.413 line over 262 plate appearances there in 2014.
The 34-year old Morgan returned to the majors for the first time since 2012, and hit an impressive .341/.429/.439 over 52 plate appearances, adding a long ball and 6 runs driven in. Those are certainly impressive numbers, but 52 plate appearances is an incredibly small sample size. Morgan also benefited from a sky high .371 BABIP, and while he has solid career numbers, the Indians suddenly have enough outfield depth in the organization that the Tribe deemed Morgan expendable. He’ll look to catch on with another organization.
Morgan briefly filled in for Michael Bourn earlier this season (and did well), but the recent emergence of Chris Dickerson to fill the same role left no room for Morgan on the active roster. The Tribe could have optioned Morgan to Triple-A, but the Clippers have a crowded outfield there as well (one that features Holt, James Ramsey, and Carlos Moncrief).
Furthermore, activating Morgan (and optioning him to Columbus) would have required the Indians to use a 40-man roster spot on him (he had owned one prior to his DL stint). The Indians currently have a vacant 40-man roster spot, perhaps suggesting that the Tribe has plans for adding someone else to the roster in the near future, either by promoting a minor leaguer not already on the 40-man roster or by acquiring a player from outside the organization (though that’s just speculation).
It’s also possible that the Indians chose to get rid of Morgan to retain flexibility with their roster, or to give him an opportunity elsewhere. However, Morgan didn’t seem close to returning from his injury, and had yet to start a rehab assignment.
According to a tweet from the Plain Dealer’s Zack Meisel, manager Terry Francona described the decision to release Morgan as a “mutual cutting of the cord,” and he added that Morgan will indeed miss the rest of the season due to injury.
The struggles of the Tribe’s rotation this season have been well-documented, and the Indians will hope that Tomlin can help to fortify the starting five moving forward.
With the return of Tomlin, the Indians will send the 29-year old to start tonight’s game against the Reds. The Reds counter with ace Johnny Cueto (12-6, 2.05 ERA/3.08 FIP), who could certainly prove to be a tough matchup for the Tribe.
First pitch for tonight’s game at Progressive Field is at 7:05 eastern time.
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