After the Cleveland Indians named Josh Tomlin and Cody Anderson to the final two rotation spots, Trevor Bauer ended up in the bullpen. Is he bound to return to the rotation, and will it be for the Tribe?
It almost seems silly to say. The Cleveland Indians have a full bullpen as they’ll open the season with eight relievers, and the rumor is they’re talking a swap of a starter for a bullpen arm? It does make sense when you look at the makeup of the Tribe bullpen. Having starters–or former starters–in the bullpen doesn’t hurt unless one has the potential like Bauer while you indeed have other needs to address.
SportsDay out of Dallas reported that the Rangers may be in talks with the Indians in a possible trade for one of their starters. While the offseason was filled with the rumors that one of the “big guns” could go, it’s clear that Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar are safe. It’s now the trio of Anderson, Tomlin and Bauer that the Rangers are looking at.
One of the names mentioned but is not openly being shopped by the Rangers is Shawn Tolleson. Tolleson emerged as the full-time closer in 2015 saving 35 of his 37 chances. In 144 IP, he’s posted a 2.88 ERA and a 9.1 K/9 over the last two seasons. I’ve not been shy in saying I don’t have the utmost faith in Indians’ closer Cody Allen. A shaky end to 2015 coupled with a terrible spring has me thinking Tolleson would be a great addition.
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Other names that have been mentioned previously this winter in potential deals were Keone Kela, Jake Diekman, Sam Dyson and Tom Wilhelmsen. The depth of the Rangers bullpen is formidable with solid arms throughout. The question is what starter would garner the best return.
Bauer arguably has the most potential, and the Indians may be running out of patience for him to reach it. Add to it that he’s out of options and there’s not much the Tribe can do with him. Anderson is the least polished of the three. But he also has options left, leaving the Indians with a “safety valve” if he struggles.
Finally, there’s Tomlin. The “old man” of the Indians. After battling back from several injuries, The 31-year-old Tomlin returned to pitch well going 7-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts. The biggest question is how will Tomlin’s arm strength hold up over the long haul.
Starting pitching is always good to have, and the Indians were a prime example of that last season. But the chance to solidify the bullpen in exchange for one of these starters might be too good to pass up.