Updates Regarding the Cleveland Indians
Following Tuesday’s official announcement regarding the 2020 season, the Cleveland Indians have been busy preparing. Preparing from the standpoint of getting ready for Spring Training 2.0 and trying to nail down both their 40 and 60-man rosters. All of the other 29 teams around baseball are doing the same right now.
However, there have been a few news bites from the Indians organization that are important to focus on. The first comes from Zack Meisel who covers the Indians for The Athletic.
The Indians are still finalizing plans, but they’ll likely use Classic Park (Lake County) or Canal Park (Akron) for their alternate spring training site (taxi squad). Progressive Field will be the primary site.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 24, 2020
With the 2020 season on tap, all thirty teams will need to designate a certain group of players as part of their taxi squad. The taxi squad will be comprised of players who could step in if someone on the big league squad gets injured. In many ways, a lot of strategy needs to be utilized when creating the taxi squad. The reason being that it essentially serves as the depth for a team over the span of the 60-games.
Two Components of the Indians Taxi Squad
Earlier this afternoon, Emily Waldon who is the National Prospect Writer at The Athletic, revealed important information. The information was about two components of the Indians taxi squad for this season.
Source: Tyler Freeman and Nolan Jones both expected to be included with #Indians taxi squad.
— emilycwaldon (@EmilyCWaldon) June 26, 2020
Both Nolan Jones and Tyler Freeman are the Cleveland Indians two top prospects. Jones is likely the Indians third baseman of the future. Furthermore, Freeman who plays shortstop could be a potential replacement for the Indians. That’s if they decide to trade superstar Francisco Lindor. Lindor has two years remaining before free agency and has been available on the trade market since last offseason.
Additionally, Freeman and Jones give the Indians some very valuable depth for this season. Both Freeman and Jones could be utilized in the event of an injury to Lindor and/or Jose Ramirez as well. Given that Spring Training has been broken up due to the Coronavirus, players aren’t preparing like they normally would. Granted, the chance of potential injuries could be higher.
More on Emmanuel Clase Suspension
Beyond the updates mentioned above, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com gave an update on Emmanuel Clase today.
Indians RHP Emmanuel Clase was suspended 80 games for PEDs while MLB was shuttered.
With 60-gm schedule, suspension is now shorter in games but larger in % of season. Won't carry into '21* but will last all of '20.
*Unclear what happens if COVID-19 cuts '20 season even shorter.
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) June 25, 2020
Clase came over to Cleveland from the Texas Rangers in the Corey Kluber trade. The right-hander was seen as a key component of the Indians bullpen. Obviously, with the suspension that is no longer the case. Although, the Indians have some very good options to fill that role.
Left-hander Brad Hand will once again be the team’s closer. Hand concluded last season with a 3.30 ERA over 57 and 1/3 innings of work with 34 saves and 84 strikeouts. Additionally, right-handers Adam Cimber and Nick Wittgren will give Cleveland a powerful duo at the back of the bullpen. Cimber is a sidewinder and is most known for his sinker ball which he threw 50.8% of the time in 2019. Furthermore, Wittgren finished last season with a 2.81 ERA over 55 games with a four-seamer that held opposing hitters to a .209 batting average.
In the end, the 2020 season will be an interesting one for the Cleveland Indians like it will be for the rest of baseball. With the right moves and good health, the Indians should be successful once again in the American League Central due to the tremendous depth built up in the organization.
Embed from Getty Images