Indians Name Kazmir Fifth Starter, Make Several Roster Decisions
Mike Brandyberry | On 25, Mar 2013
By Mike Brandyberry
The Indians made several roster decisions on Monday afternoon, including naming Scott Kazmir the team’s fifth starter. However, Kazmir will not begin the season on the team’s Opening Day 25-man roster.
Cleveland informed Kazmir he has won the fifth starter’s job, but will not be added to the Indians roster until his first scheduled start. They also informed Jason Giambi he has made the roster, but he will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list and will not be eligible to be activated until April 9, one day after the team’s home opener against the New York Yankees. Ezequiel Carrera was designated for assignment to make room for Giambi on the 40-man roster.
Kazmir will make his first start for the Indians on April 6 in Tampa Bay, the team that he had so much success with from 2004-2009. He was an All-Star with the Rays in 2006 and 2008 and led the American League in strikeouts in 2007. He struggled in 2010 with the Los Angeles Angels before being released in 2011. Last summer he pitched with the Sugarland Skeeters of the Independent Atlantic League.
Cleveland also informed Ryan Raburn, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Shaw that barring injury, they have made the Tribe’s Opening Day roster. The moves allow the Indians to play the first six games with only 24 players. Carlos Carrasco will be the 25th player, serving his six game suspension originally issued to him in August 2011 for inciting a bench clearing brawl with the Kansas City Royals. After serving his suspension, Carrasco will be optioned to Triple-A. Roster spots on the 40-man roster still have to be established for Raburn, and eventually Kazmir.
The team will play with a short bench for the first six games while Carrasco serves his suspension. Aviles and Raburn’s flexibility allows the Indians to play with a short-handed team for the first week. A roster move will have to be made to get Kazmir on the roster before Carrasco’s suspension is fulfilled, however. Likely a pitcher from the bullpen would be optioned to Triple-A to activate Kazmir and allow Carrasco to serve the final two games.
The Tribe officially optioned Cord Phelps and Yan Gomes to Triple-A Columbus with the moves. Phelps hit .375, with three home runs and seven runs batted in this spring and even expanded his flexibility by trying to learn to play first base. Gomes hit .407, with a home run and seven runs batted in, in 30 plate appearances this spring. The Indians want Gomes to go to Columbus and catch every day.
The Indians have told both David Huff and Carrera that they will not make the team and the organization will try to accommodate each with a trade. Huff has a 4.70 ERA in 15 innings and eight spring games. He, too, is out of options and would likely not clear waivers, just like Matt Albers. Huff was a first round draft pick of the Indians in 2006 and has had several opportunities to prove himself with the Tribe since 2009.
Carrera has appeared in 116 games with the Indians over the last two seasons, hitting .255 in the big leagues. He leads the majors in stolen bases this spring, but is available because of the team’s lack of need for an extra outfielder that can play center field.
Chris McGuiness, a Rule 5 selection from the Texas Rangers, will not make the roster. He is currently still in camp and the Indians are hoping to work out compensation with Texas so that he can go to the minor leagues.
Current Opening Day roster: Carlos Santana, Lou Marson, Mark Reynolds, Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, Mike Aviles, Ryan Raburn, Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Drew Stubbs, Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers, Zach McAllister, Carlos Carrasco, Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Nick Hagadone, Rich Hill, Matt Albers.
Photo: Jordan Bastian/MLB.com