The Cleveland Indians have roster decisions to make involving Yan Gomes and Danny Salazar, with the latter being an option out of the bullpen.
All is well as the Cleveland Indians are currently off until Friday after a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. The Toronto Blue Jays await, but so do some decisions regarding the playoff roster for the ALCS.
The first decision has to do with Danny Salazar, who could be making his return to the team after doing some recovery work in Arizona. It would be his first appearance since September 9.
It seems like Salazar is indeed set to be in the bullpen for the ALCS, which means someone will have to be cut from the ALDS roster to make room.
When looking at the pitching staff, Cody Anderson appears to be the one who would go if that’s the path the team wants to take. However, Terry Francona may benefit from having as many arms in the bullpen as possible with a potentially long series ahead.
Anderson is valuable in the case of a large lead or even a large deficit, ready to go multiple innings to eat up some innings when the game is all but over.
So if Francona wants to have more pitchers on the roster this series, the catcher position will be looked at for a potential cut. After carrying three catchers in the ALDS, and using just one, either Yan Gomes or Chris Gimenez are at risk of not being on the active roster come Friday.
It would be hard to cut Gomes from the active roster after he worked so hard to return when the odds of him doing so were so slim, but his lack of playing time since July could factor into the decision. He did hit a home run in his first at-bat back in the team’s final game of the season, but one at-bat does not mean he is fully prepared to return.
Then again, this team is full of surprises and unlikely heroes, so Gomes could end up being one of the X-factors moving forward. That’s the beauty of this team.
As for Gimenez, he may be the one position player at risk of being cut to make room for Salazar. He has been a reliable backup catcher all season, but it would be hard for Francona to put more trust in Gimenez than Gomes if the opening day starter is indeed healthy enough to play in the ALCS.
The decision then comes down to Gimenez or Anderson, with Anderson holding the slight edge of remaining on the roster as an extra arm out of the bullpen. Carrying three catchers allows for more strategic substitutions throughout the game, but none of the three are particularly great pinch hitters or runners, lowering their individual value for the final roster spot. They are more likely to be removed from the game than to be put in as a threat.
It will depend on what Francona values most, but it would be nice to see the duo of Salazar and Gomes return in the ALCS after so much time spent recovering from injuries this season.