For the most part, the Cleveland Indians have survived Cactus League play with a minimal number of injuries. But there have been a few that have changed manager Terry Francona‘s roster construction for next Thursday when the team opens play in Minnesota against the Twins.
The most notable of the bunch was the biggest loss as the Indians settled in to Goodyear, Arizona, for their month and a half stay in the desert in mid-February. The moderate right calf injury suffered by three-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor before arriving to camp left many wondering if the 25-year-old would be ready within the seven- to nine-week time table expected for his injury. While there were plenty on the social media landscape calling for Lindor to take it slowly and ease into the season, the young superstar returned to action in minor league camp but has yet to play in an official Cactus League game for Cleveland.
Major League Baseball will kick off the 2019 season with its earliest start ever (excluding international openers) as all 30 teams will take the field on March 28. Follow along with Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down the days until Opening Day 2019. – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 31 days
One year ago while addressing jersey number 31 in Tribe history, I wrote a story pondering the potential impact that Danny Salazar might have on the Cleveland Indians roster for the 2018 season. Now, I’m suffering a case of déjà vu as I have to do the same thing again for Salazar in regards to the 2019 campaign.
Last year, the answer was clear even from the start of spring camp that Salazar was not going to contribute a full year’s work to the club, as just days after pitchers and catchers reported to their designated Spring Training sites, the Indians announced that Salazar had injured his shoulder during an offseason workout the month prior and that he was already well behind other players reporting to Goodyear. That right shoulder inflammation was followed by setbacks in his throwing program and by the beginning of July, his season was over after an arthroscopic debridement and a bursectomy were performed on his throwing shoulder in the rotator cuff region.
The Cleveland Indians returned to routine offseason work following the announcement of the Yan Gomes trade with Washington on Friday, avoiding arbitration with four members of its 40-man roster while tendering contract offers to All-Stars Trevor Bauer and Francisco Lindor, as well as rehabbing pitcher Cody Anderson.
The Indians came to terms on Major League contracts for the 2019 season with relievers Nick Goody and Neil Ramirez, pitcher Danny Salazar, and infielder Eric Stamets. Reliever James Hoyt, who was acquired from the Houston Astros during the first week of July, was the only player eligible who was non-tendered, making him a free agent.
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 31 days
It’s a new year, but the same old questions remain about the Tribe’s number 31, Danny Salazar.
The Cleveland Indians checked off a few more boxes from their offseason to-do list on Friday when the club came to agreements on one-year contracts with arbitration eligible players Zach McAllister, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Danny Salazar.
The trio of Tribe mainstays joined closer Cody Allen in taking care of a contract for the 2018 season, leaving only starting pitcher Trevor Bauer’s status up in the air as the team prepares to pack up for the trip to Goodyear, Arizona, for the start of spring training in just over a month.
With the start of the new year, the Cleveland Indians still have plenty of questions that need resolution before the start of the 2018 campaign. Most should work themselves out by the end of spring training, but in the meantime, one can only ponder how things will be answered.
During the first half of the 2016 season, it seemed Danny Salazar was headed toward being an important fixture in the Cleveland Indians rotation for some years to come.
That first half, marred only by what seemed to be a minor forearm injury during the final weekend before the All-Star break, was one to behold for Salazar. He went into the break with a 10-3 record and 2.75 ERA. His breakout performance earned him a spot on the American League All-Star squad. He was a big reason the Indians were in first place and dreaming of big things ahead.
Those 2016 Indians did reach big things once play resumed after the Midsummer Classic. However, they did a lot of it without the All-Star hurler. By the time the team was playing in that year’s World Series, Salazar was reduced to a reliever, mostly in a spectator’s role.
The Cleveland Indians checked off another box on the offseason to-do list on Friday when it signed two players to one-year contracts and tendered contracts to their remaining five arbitration eligible players on the roster.
Reliever Dan Otero and outfielder Abraham Almonte each agreed to one-year contracts with the Indians to avoid arbitration. The Indians also tendered offers to pitchers Cody Allen, Trevor Bauer, Zach McAllister, and Danny Salazar as well as outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall.
The clock is ticking loudly around Major League Baseball as teams have until Friday night (8 PM ET) to decide whether or not to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.
The decisions for the Cleveland Indians may be fairly easy this year, but keeping all seven of their arbitration-eligible players will shrink what little financial wiggle room the organization has all the more.
The Indians set a franchise record for salary spent last season, and with a significant amount of money due to returning players already because of the way many of the existing contracts on the roster are structured, Cleveland is already on the brink of equaling last season’s payroll, and that includes money subtracted by the culmination of the contracts of Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, and other free agents following the 2017 season.
Danny Salazar made his case for a role on the Indians’ postseason roster with four and two-thirds innings of strong starting pitching and the Cleveland bats provided just enough offense as the Tribe held on for a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night
The Indians (99-59) held off the Twins offense one night after it erupted for 17 hits against the Tribe pitching staff. With a chance to secure an on-the-field celebration of a trip to the 2017 playoffs, the Twins instead had to postpone their party for several hours until the Los Angeles Angels fell 6-4 in extra innings to the Chicago White Sox, punching Minnesota’s postseason ticket.
This week’s series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins from Progressive Field has a brand new meaning as the surprise Twins look to lock up the second American League Wild Card spot and a possible first round matchup with the Indians in the ALDS.
The Indians (98-58) will look to prevent the Twins (82-74) from celebrating on their home field, but it may all be just delaying the inevitable. Minnesota comes into play on Tuesday night with a five-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the final playoff spot still available on the junior circuit side of the Major League Baseball landscape. Minnesota is coming off of a sweep of the Detroit Tigers, dropping its magic number to clinch a playoff spot to two games.
Those big league managers make the big bucks for a reason.
Cleveland’s Terry Francona has an important week ahead of him, even if the club has nearly locked up home field advantage on the American League side of the playoff bracket. While the team continues to win on the field, victors of 29 of its last 31 contests, the roster is no certainty for the veteran skipper, who is going to have some difficult decisions to make with his coaching staff before the start of postseason play next week.