In an move that’s been long overdue, the Cleveland Indians have officially decided to take Josh Tomlin out of the rotation and put him in the bullpen.
This is a move that should have happened sooner. Tomlin got off to a slow start this season, and he really hasn’t shown any signs of turning the corner. He’s clearly been the weakest link in the starting rotation and a rotation is only as strong as its worst member.
Through six starts, Tomlin hasn’t won a single one of them. He has an 0-4 record with a 7.84 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP. He’s allowed a ridiculous 15 home runs already this season. That’s about as many as some starting pitchers have over an entire season with 30+ starts. Tomlin managed to hit that number in just six.
On average, Tomlin has allowed 4.4 HR/9, the highest in the major leagues. His 15 home runs allowed also leads the league. The next closest pitcher, Danny Duffy, has given up 14 long balls but with 51 innings pitched. Tomlin is only at 31 innings.
Tomlin typically has a better second half than a first half, but this season has just been too awful to justify keeping him in the rotation.
Move to the bullpen
Tomlin now heads to the bullpen where he will fit right in with other pitchers who have put up disappointing stats to start the season. The bullpen unit has been among the worst in baseball since Andrew Miller got hurt nearly a month ago.
My guess would be that Tomlin takes over the long reliever role and tries to figure out a way to keep the baseball from going over the fence.
Who takes the rotation spot?
That would be Adam Plutko. He gets the chance to be in the rotation after his successful spot start in a doubleheader earlier this month.
Plutko has done well this season in Triple-A, pitching to a 2.25 ERA with the Cleveland Indians top minor league affiliate.
In his first major league start, Plutko did give up a couple homers, but they were solo shots and he was able to limit the damage and give the Indians a chance to win, something that Tomlin has struggled to do all season.
What took so long?
It’s possible that manager Terry Francona was still banking on a turnaround from Tomlin, as he has done many times before. But with the team overall struggling to get wins on the board, a change needed to be made.
Perhaps they wanted to make sure Plutko was absolutely ready to be in the big league rotation before they made the move. But with a tough stretch of games with the Cubs and Astros on the schedule, Francona couldn’t afford to lose one more game before it even started.
The Cleveland Indians made the right move in sending Tomlin to the bullpen. Even though that group has struggled as well, it brings an improvement to the starting rotation.