You should put that title to the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” because, you know, of the snow. (I apologize for the bad pun, I felt it necessary).
Anyway, the Indians have made most of their final roster decisions this afternoon, leaving just the final bullpen spot undecided. It sounded like this decision was coming sooner rather than later, and not just because of the fact that Opening Day is next Tuesday. Terry Francona didn’t want to leave guys hanging, wondering their fate. If the front office pretty much knew who was going to make the squad, it made sense to tell everyone quickly and get it over with.
So if you haven’t already heard this (drum roll please):
– The fifth starter is Scott Kazmir. This should not really come as a surprise, especially considering that it was down to he and Carlos Carrasco at this point. In a move that is more bureaucratic than anything, Carrasco will technically make the Opening Day roster as well. This is so he can serve his six game suspension from August 2011; after those six days he will likely head to Columbus. (Unless there’s some kind of freak injury to another starter in that time frame). Since Kazmir is not on the 40-man roster at this point, someone will have to go. Since Ezequiel Carrera and David Huff are out of options, it may be one of them at this point. EDIT: Paul Hoynes is reporting that both Carrera and Huff were told that they would not make the team and that the Indians would try to trade them. Kazmir is set to make his first start Saturday, April 6 in Tampa.
– Jason Giambi and Ryan Raburn have been told they’ve made the roster, barring injury. Giambi actually has a mild back strain (supposedly not severe) and will start the season on the 15-day-DL. Neither of these are a huge surprise to me. It seemed like Raburn had a leg up in the competition, due to his Major League experience and his versatility. Francona seems to want Giambi around more for his leadership than anything else, although he’s hoping that he can be a left-handed bat in the lineup a couple of days a week.
– Nick Hagadone and Bryan Shaw have been told they made the roster. I liked what I saw from both of them in Arizona, so this seems like a good move. There appears to be one remaining slot in the bullpen, which will go to either Matt Albers or David Huff. EDIT: With Huff out, it probably means it’s Albers.
Because of all of these moves, it means that Yan Gomes and Cord Phelps will start the season at Columbus.
In the past couple of days, both Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Capps were released from their contracts. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be in Columbus to start the season. It sounds as if the Indians are just renegotiating deals with them and wanted to avoid paying the $100K retention bonus. I definitely expect them to get a deal done with Dice-K, since it sounds like he was already amenable to heading to Triple-A. Capps is probably trying to see if any other teams have interest, before heading to the minors.
Even though there’s snow on the ground, we’re just a week away from Opening Day. Fortunately, the Indians play their first six games under cover (Rogers Center in Toronto and Tropicana Field in Tampa) so the weather won’t play a factor.