The Cleveland Indians’ Gavin Floyd Ruled Out Indefinitely After MRI

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Gavin Floyd was signed in the offseason for rotation depth; now he may not pitch in 2015

John Steinbeck had it right even way back in 1937: “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Floyd was the big signing of the Cleveland Indians offseason, getting $4 million guaranteed with escalators that could take the deal up to $10 million. The reason he got so little compared to what others on the open market got was because he was coming back form a fractured elbow in 2014 that saw him only pitch in 9 games for the Atlanta Braves. Now he has re-injured the same elbow and will miss “significant time” per Terry Francona (h/t August Fagerstrom, mlb.com assistant beat writer for the Indians.)

The news of the injury to Floyd, who Francona has said might have slotted as high as number two in the rotation, leads to many fan questions that we here at Wahoo’s on First will try to answer.

Why did we sign Floyd in the first place if he could get hurt again?

The Indians knew there was risk in signing Floyd but went ahead with the signing because Floyd’s injury was flukey when it happened last year. The surgery that was done on his elbow was supposed to correct the issue. It is a rare issue to begin with, and normally does not bear repeat problems. Floyd was signed for only $4 million due to the inherent risk of coming back from the elbow injury and also because he had Tommy John surgery in 2013.

What does this mean for the Tribe going forward?

More big league innings for Danny Salazar and T.J. House. One of those two were predicted to be in Triple-A Columbus when Spring Training broke due to lack of open spots in the rotation. Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco were expected to be the number one and two starters, respectively, with Trevor Bauer likely to land in the starting rotation due to the fact that he is out of options. Zach McAllister is battling for a rotation spot but, after his successful stint in the bullpen last year, Francona and GM Chris Antonetti have both mentioned that it is possible McAllister starts the season as a reliever. Salazar and House can now be expected to be on the big league squad when the season opens.

Will the Indians go out and get another starting pitcher?

While this remains possible, it seems unlikely. Francona loves his pitching staff full and stocked, and there are many in-house options with Bruce Chen and Shaun Marcum pitching well this spring. At this point, with so few roster battles settled across the league, finding a worthwhile starter would be few and far between. Sure, the Indians could pony up for Cole Hamels or Jordan Zimmermann but that would cost a boat load in payroll and prospects. Remember, there is no timetable for Floyd right now. Surgery is an option, but might not be necessary. Floyd was throwing batting practice, and throwing well, when he felt some soreness that kept him out of his spring debut over the weekend.

Only time will tell if Floyd is going to give the Indians anything this year. He was signed for a very low price which won’t hurt the Tribe going forward. More big league innings for Salazar and House could ultimately be a good thing, as both pitchers are projected for better WAR than Floyd. The signing was a gamble and, right now, it doesn’t look like it will pay off for the Tribe.

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