By now you’re probably aware that Indians veteran Jason Giambi was recently diagnosed with a broken rib and will likely open the season in the minor leagues or on the disabled list.
Many Indians fans expected Giambi to make the 25-man Opening Day roster, which seems unlikely now. But his ill fortune could well be someone’s gain, albeit only temporarily. Who stands to benefit from Giambi’s injury?
This depends on large part whether Tribe manager Terry Francona wants to have eight arms in the bullpen, or only seven. If the former, the five starting pitchers and eight relievers will comprise a 13-man pitching staff, leaving room for 12 position players. Assuming that Kipnis, Swisher, Bourn, Santana, Aviles, Raburn, Gomes, Cabrera, Brantley, Chisenhall, and Murphy will make the team, that means there is room for only one more.
Perhaps Jeff Francoeur could make the roster as a utility outfielder and part-time DH. At age 30, this will be his tenth season in the majors should he make the team. Although he hasn’t shown much of it in recent seasons, Frenchy has been known to swing the bat with some power and authority, and might serve as a sort of “Giambi, Jr.” until the real one gets back.
But the Indians really should open the season with another backup infielder, and that looks to me like keeping offseason acquisition David Adams on the roster. Although his big league experience is mininal, consisting as it does of 43 games with the Yankees last season, I get the impression that the Indians like what they see in Adams, and if it comes to choosing either him or Francoeur for the final roster spot, my money is on Adams. I suppose they could both make the team if they decide to go with Santana at third and shopping Chisenhall as trade bait, but I don’t see that happening.
Of course, Elliot Johnson is also contending for a utility infielder slot, and Nyjer Morgan can’t be ruled out as a sixth outfielder. It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next two or three weeks.
Let’s hear your thoughts!