Clevelinks: Pitching Depth and Cleveland Indians Boom/Bust Potential

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Shaun Marcum adds to the Cleveland Indians’ vital pitching depth, and injured players make the 2015 season full of risk and reward

With Corey Kluber winning last year’s Cy Young Award, and Carlos Carrasco ending the year with a performance that rivaled in quality, the Cleveland Indians boast one of the best and youngest pitching rotations in baseball. But as the old saying goes, one can never have enough pitching, and all for one big reason: people break down. Should 2015 see Gavin Floyd reinjure his UCL or Trevor Bauer’s drone strike back, the Indians could be in trouble. This is why pitching depth is super critical to a team’s success.

Starting pitchers Josh Tomlin, TJ House, and Danny Salazar will be competing against each other to win the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Zach McAllister appears ready to become a reliever, but one should never count him out. And let’s not forget Bruce Chen, as the Tribe inked him to a minor league deal just this week. An additional x-factor could be Shaun Marcum. The 33-year-old veteran has struggled with injury in the past, but a career 3.88 ERA and the ability to eat innings has plenty of value. Nicholas D. Blazek continues to reason as to why a healthy Marcum would greatly help the Indians in 2015.

To carry on the injury train, the Indians medical staff released some updates regarding injured Tribe players, as covered by TribeVibe. Many players critical to the Tribe’s 2015 success are currently injured. Offseason acquisitions Brandon Moss and Gavin Floyd have made some improvements recently, and both are expected to resume game activity in mid-March. Nick Swisher is also rehabbing from bi-lateral knee surgery, and he is unrestricted when it comes to hitting and throwing. His expected return to game action, however, is not until mid-March, as a healthy Swisher will be critical to 2015’s success.

While the amount of injured talent gives the Indians a high upside, it also provides a great risk. Should Swisher and Moss combine for 50 home runs, a feat not completely unimaginable, as it happened as recently as 2013, the Indians could very easily win 90 games. On the contrary, Moss and Swisher could completely tank, Gavin Floyd could look like Brett Myers, and Jason Kipnis may not replicate his All Star showings; something that could result in the Tribe struggling to break .500 when Kluber and Michael Brantley’s probable regression are factored in.

More from around the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians: Who Should Hit Leadoff? – Wahoo’s on First

A Healthy Sean Marcum Would Benefit the Indians – Wahoo’s on First

Pre-Spring Injury Updates – TribeVibe

It’s Safe to Consider the Twins Offseason a Success – Puckett’s Pond

Is Jose Abreu the Top First baseman in the Division? – Southside Showdown

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