Cleveland Indians: Rule 5 Draft roster decisions as deadline approaches

(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Ernie Clement
(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

On the Fence

Carlos Vargas – RHP
Ernie Clement – UTL

Carlos Vargas is a pitcher that one could actually argue over Eli Morgan in my opinion. He has better stuff and has been ranked a lot higher in prospect rankings. Baseball America had him 14th this winter, one spot behind lefty Scott Moss who was added at the roster ahead of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft.

The issue with Vargas is he’s 21 years old and has yet to pitch a full-season of ball yet. In 2019, he made 15 starts and threw 77 innings for Short-Season Mahoning Valley and while he was good there (3.36 FIP), that’s a BIG jump to think he could last a full year on a big league pitching staff. The stuff could play up in the bullpen and maybe a team takes a chance on him. The Indians did add Jean Carlos Mejia two years ago, though he at least pitched at Lake County.

I can’t recall a player that hadn’t reached at least Low-A to be rostered by the Tribe, which is why I don’t put as high an odd on him being added, but with so many open roster spots on the 40-man roster, maybe the Tribe does it?

Odds of being added: 25% 

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Ernie Clement is a guy I really like in the Tribe system as he can seemingly do a bit of everything. A natural middle infielder, he’s been playing all over the diamond, including some outfield. He didn’t play that well in 2019, hitting just .261/.314/.322 at Double-A Akron though he did steal 16 bases and rarely strikes out (7.6% K-rate).

He may not seem like the type to be added, but the Tribe did add him to their 60-man alternate site roster in 2020 and even had him as one of their 12-man player pool guys for the playoffs (one of six position players). With both Cesar Hernandez and Mike Freeman gone (for now at least), there’s the potential for some playing time in the infield. Clement fits the mold of a Freeman type of utility player, and the Indians did protect Eric Stamets a couple years back.

Odds of being added: 15%