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Tejeda Looking For A Place In Tribe Organization

| On 22, Feb 2012

Each week through Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and break down the players in camp for the Indians at Goodyear, Arizona and examine their potential roles for the season to come. This week, we kick off our Goodyear coverage by breaking down some of the 22 spring invitees invited to big league camp by the Tribe.

By Mike Brandyberry

One bad year, or the beginning of the end for a journeyman? That’s the fine line Robinson Tejeda walks this spring and an answer the Indians are looking to find out.

Tejeda had three successful seasons in the Kansas City Royals bullpen from 2008-2011, with ERA’s south of 3.60 each season, but 2012 was a nightmare for the right handed reliever. After seven appearances in April last year, Tejeda was injured and placed on the disabled list. A rehab stint at AAA-Omaha appeared to have the pitcher ready for the Royals again, but he struggled and optioned back to Omaha. He pitched the rest of the season there and was granted free agency at the end of the seson.

The Indians signed the righty on January 3 as a sign to build depth, possibly in Cleveland or Columbus. Tejeda is now 30, and will have to prove himself worthy of a spot in the Tribe bullpen. If he makes the club, he stands to profit mightily as his contract calls for him to make $825,000, with incentives starting at 50 appearances. However, he will have to battle several arms vying for one of those last two spots.

While the competition is fierce to earn the one of those final two bullpen spots with the Tribe, competition will remain for those pitchers who don’t make the Indians’ Opening Day roster. Tejeda can easily report to Columbus if he does not have a stellar spring, but if he struggles mightily, the organization may deem him not worth the AAA-roster spot and elect to invest in a younger pitcher with more upside.

Realistically, Tejeda is probably behind Nick Hagadone, Frank Herrmann, Dan Wheeler and Chen Lee for the final two bullpen positions, but a solid spring could vault him into the competition. Something less than stellar will probably land him in Columbus, but a terrible March could result in the beginning of the end of the road.

Photo: Mark Duncan/Associated Press

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