3 takeaways from the Cleveland Indians recent roster moves
On Saturday (June 5) the Cleveland Indians announced a series of moves to the roster that involved the movement of four players and, thankfully, no players going on the injured list or playing musical chairs for a spot start.
The moves included calling up both Bobby Bradley and Blake Parker, including adding Parker to the 40-man roster. To make room on the active roster, Eli Morgan was sent back down to Columbus while Jake Bauers was designated for assignment, creating a spot for Parker on the 40-man roster.
Moving beyond just the names and players involved in the deal, what could these roster moves mean for the Tribe moving forward in the season? Bradley and Parker are both players that played well in Spring Training, so why are these moves happening now and what are the repercussions of the changes?
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1. Starting Rotation is beginning to settle
Sending down Morgan might be the more curious move of the four players that changed uniforms in the recent group of changes to the roster. Morgan only made one start and it was derailed by weather. Now, that’s not to say he couldn’t come back with another move down the road, but given the multitude of off days in the near future, it was the move that worked and made sense for the time being.
However, the Cleveland Indians made another announcement separate from the call-ups that makes sending Morgan down make more sense. Cal Quantrill will start on Sunday for the Tribe in the series finale against the Orioles. The move also comes a day after Jean Carlos Mejia put together a solid start, albeit a bit short.
With Mejia and Quantrill looking strong, the Tribe’s rotation looks a lot better than it did a couple weeks ago. All five spots have a clear front-runner, leaving Morgan as the odd man out.
There’s also the possibility that Zach Plesac returns to the active roster in the near future. Plesac will be eligible to return shortly, but he hasn’t resumed throwing yet. However, that could be coming soon.
2. What role will Blake Parker have?
With the Columbus Clippers, Parker served as a late-inning reliever and predominately the team’s closer. However, the Cleveland Indians have the last few innings locked down, so where will Parker fit in with the bullpen?
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The area where the team is going to lack a bit is long relief. The players that were brought up to fill that role this season are now all in the rotation. Quantrill has played the part all year, but both Mejia and Sam Hentges have taken their turn pitching multiple innings at a time out of the pen as well.
With all three of those pitchers now in starting roles for the time being, the bullpen is left without a long reliever. It was thought that Morgan would occupy that spot, but with him going down to create space for Parker that clearly won’t be happening.
Being that Parker has been used both in the past and this year in Columbus as a closer or at least a setup man, he won’t be fit to be a long reliever. There’s a chance that more moves could be coming soon, like the aforementioned return of Plesac, but for the time being the bullpen will just have to take it one inning at a time.
3. Bobby Bradley will play first. What’s the domino effect?
Bobby Bradley really only has two spots he could go in the Tribe’s lineup. First base and designated hitter. With Franmil Reyes still on the IL, there’s a chance that Bradley could be the DH but then where does Owen Miller? Miller’s struggled a bit at the plate in Cleveland, so that’s a possibility.
If Bradley does end up in the field, then there will be a domino effect from that move. Obviously the removal of Jake Bauers from the roster will create opportunities, but does Josh Naylor move back to the outfield exclusively? What about Yu Chang, does he stay at first in any capacity?
Hopefully, Bradley lights up the scoreboard and brings a power presence to the lineup, but if he does then that could create more questions. It’s more of a quantity issue than anything, but it’s also difficult when none of the players or standing out from the rest and they are all young and developing.
The other side could be that the Tribe are seeing what Bradley can do before the trade deadline. First base has been a void for offensive production this season in Cleveland, so any sort of spark would be a plus. If Bradley doesn’t work, then maybe a trade will be needed to fill the role, but the team won’t know until they get a bigger sample size from Bradley.