Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It’s no secret that the Indians starting rotation is a work in progress as camp opens in Goodyear and the sounds of spring start to awaken.
Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Brett Myers have been handed the jobs one, two and three in the rotation, but that still leaves two very wide open spots, and a number of players getting ready to battle it out.
Last season Jeanmar Gomez took the opportunity as spring started and ran with it, winning the job with an unreal spring that saw him dominate just about every time he took the mound.
To show how rosters can change quickly and how hard it is to stay good for very long, Gomez is not even with the team anymore, and his fast spring start faded away shortly after the season started.
Zach McAllister, who showed promise last season but had issues down the stretch, seems to have his name attached to the fourth spot, but that doesn’t mean he can coast through the spring and think it’s his no matter how he pitches.
With the fifth spot, it will be a battle to the end, with a number of young and older players trying to take hold of the spot. Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, David Huff, Scott Kazmir and newly signed Daisuke Matsuzaka are all looking to make an impact.
Bauer is the wild card, as while many think he could be a year away, a strong spring could accelerate his growth to being on the Indians roster from day one.
Carrasco showed some promise two seasons ago, but is coming off Tommy John surgery, and will need to continue to make strides to be the number five man in the rotation.
The team knows what they have with Kluber and Huff, and some feel that Kluber has a lot of upside, and while Huff has had flashes, he’s never been able to be good for the long haul.
That leaves Kazmir and Dice-K, who both are interesting players, but have a lot to prove in order to win the spot, and are both trying to prove they still have what it takes at the Major League level.
“Right now, our starting rotation represents opportunity,” GM Chris Antonetti said. “I think we have some very talented guys. They all have a different story to tell. Some are older guys looking to bounce back, others are younger guys looking to take a step forward, and we’re going to have some competition for the last two spots.”
It will be an interesting battle, and one that should only make the Indians better as the spring wars wage on.