Tomlin Wins Rotation Spot; Predicting the Opening Day Roster

It is finally official. Josh Tomlin has made the Opening Day roster as the Cleveland Indians final member of the 2011 Starting Rotation. I will have more on Tomlin and his journey up on TCF soon. Really it was his spot to lose after the first few solid efforts and Huff/Gomez struggling for a few. Huff finished strong last night and Gomez put in a valiant effort, but Tomlin was good from wire to wire. He did have a good portion of his innings in B Games/Minor league contests, but you can't deny how consistent he's been.

Plus he's a strike thrower and that was the reason I picked him to win the spot from the get-go. I WISH Huff would have thrown better to claim a spot, but you have to give it to the guy who was deserving of the spot based off performance.

That means Huff and Gomez will start the year in the Columbus rotation, but you have to imagine they'll both get shots, unless all five starters are healthy and productive for the entire 2011 season, which very rarely happens for any team.

2:15 Edit: The order of the rotation is also out: Carmona, Carrasco, Masterson, Tomlin, Talbot. Not only did Tomlin pitch his way into the rotation, he pitched it into the fourth spot.

We've got other decisions left though. In addition to Gomez and Huff being optioned, Anthony Reyes and Doug Mathis have been re-assigned to minor league camp and it looks like Mathis may look to opt out.

Chris Antonetti says that Shelley Duncan, Jack Hannahan, and Travis Buck have all made the Opening Day roster, but clearly we still have some decisions to make regarding getting players on the 40-man and some backup jobs. So kinda like a "second chance bracket" for the NCAA tournament, here is our second chance at nailing down the Opening Day 25.

Remaining Openings: Backup Catcher, Backup Infielder, Three Bullpen Spots
Third Base: Jack Hannahan (40 Man)
Fourth Outfield Spot: Travis Buck (40 Man)

And in the Bullpen.... Frank Herrmann, Vinnie Pestano, and Justin Germano.

I think these three are pretty solid, as Pestano has had a great camp, Herrmann gives some length with Laffey traded and Lewis out of the mix. The final spot will go to someone who needs 40-man status, Justin Germano. He too has had a good camp and deserves it.

Backup Catcher: Paul Phillips

I think Paul Phillips, baring Lou Marson really turning it on, is going to win this spot. Marson just didn't hit in camp and that is really a shame because that's all he had to do, even a little bit. He had the defense and the 40-man spot, but he needed to show he can be trusted to be the regular back-up. It's a shame because it puts the Indians in a crunch for roster spots.

Backup Infielder: Luis Valbuena

With recent developments, I think Valbuena has charged ahead in the race for the utility job. He's had a decent spring (better than Nix) offensively and he can play the infield positions (I didn't say play extremely well, but he can play them). More importantly, Valbuena was expected to occupy shortstop in Columbus, but if Josh Rodriguez is on his way back and spots on the roster needed, I think Valbuena is going to win over Nix and the others.

That means Jayson Nix is going to get the heave-ho.

So to review...

Add Paul Phillips, Justin Germano, Jack Hannahan, Travis Buck
Remove: Jayson Nix
Open Spots: Two

That means they need two more spots and unfortunately no news on Trevor Crowe might mean the worst and with Carrera's performance, I think the Indians feel comfortable about letting Crowe come back the right way. If surgery can be done and it will be better in the long run, then maybe that is the decision they can make.

So Crowe goes to the 60-day disabled list, creating a third spot.

This is where the Lou Marson disappointment comes into play, because had he done enough, there wouldn't be this bind.. But where would they could a fourth roster spot from?

I honestly have no clue... I've looked over this roster and I can't seem to find a spot.. So I think it will come down to biting the bullet and taking Marson, or potentially trying to sneak an injured Jared Goedert through waivers. Think about it, all the roster shuffle, is anyone going to add Goedert while he's hurt? He does have options left, plenty of them, but teams are usually settling 40-man rosters at this point and if they add anyone, it's likely for the active 25-man roster.

Plus with Chisenhall's hot spring and the impression Cord Phelps left, Goedert's removal would probably mean the least out of all the guys you would try and sneak through.

So there you have it, the Opening Day roster, I'm sure I will be wrong once again.

Catchers: Carlos Santana, Paul Phillips
Infielders: Matt LaPorta, Orlando Cabrera, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jack Hannahan, Luis Valbuena
Outfielders: Austin Kearns, Michael Brantley, Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Buck, Shelley Duncan
Designated Hitter: Travis Hafner
Starting Rotation: Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, Carlos Carrasco, Mitch Talbot, Josh Tomlin
Bullpen: Chris Perez, Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin, Vinnie Pestano, Frank Herrmann, Justin Germano
15 Day DL: Grady Sizemore, Joe Smith, Jason Donald
60 Day DL: Trevor Crowe

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