Connect with us

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians: Talkin’ bullpen, where can they find some relief? – Terry Pluto


1. The Indians won’t have Cody Allen and Andrew Miller to lead their bullpen. Both became free agents after the season and will be elsewhere in 2019. Last month, Miller went to the Cardinals. Allen agreed to a one-year deal with the Angels on Friday.

2. Two years ago, this would have seemed liked a disaster. In 2016-17, the Miller/Allen combination was one of the best in baseball. In 2017, the Tribe’s bullpen had a 2.89 ERA — lowest in the American League. In 2016, it was a 3.45 ERA — second best in AL.

3. But last year, the Tribe’s bullpen was a bust for much of the season. Its 4.60 ERA ranked No. 13 out of 15 teams. A big part of the problem was the sudden collapse of Miller/Allen. They combined for a 4.54 ERA. They walked 39 in 101 innings — allowing 14 HRs.

4. Miller was on the disabled list three different times with three different injuries. Allen had control and confidence problems. That’s why it’s hard to know what exactly the Indians lost with the departures of Miller and Allen. Will they both bounce back? Maybe one? Which one?

5. After the 2017 season, the Indians didn’t re-sign Bryan Shaw. The Rockies gave him a three-year, $27 million deal. He had a 5.93 ERA in 2018. Once upon a time, the right-handed side-armer dominated right-handed batters. Not last season. They hit .341 vs. Shaw.

6. From 2013-17, Shaw pitched in more games than anyone in the American League. He had a 21-22 record and 3.11 ERA in that span for the Tribe. People in the media often mentioned how the Indians missed Shaw in 2018, and they did — the Bryan Shaw of 2013-17, not the one pitching last year.

7. Relievers drive you crazy. As with any pitcher, injuries are a problem. But other times, they just lose it — like Shaw and Allen did last season.

8. The Angels will pay Allen about $8.5 million and hope he can be their closer. They also have added about $2.5 million more in incentives to the deal. So he had a lousy year, but still cashed in. He was paid $10 million in 2018 by the Tribe. Allen could possibly fix his curveball (his main problem in 2018) and become a reliable closer again. Shaw can find whatever he lost. Who knows?


1. Knowing it was likely they’d lose Allen and Miller to free agency is why the Tribe traded top prospect Francisco Mejia to San Diego in July for Hand, a two-time All-Star closer. He converted 8-of-10 save opportunities and had a 2.28 ERA for the Tribe.

2. In the last three years, only New York’s Dellin Betances struck out more batters (341) than Hand (321). In that span, he has a 2.62 ERA. At the age of 28, Hand still should be in his prime.

3. Hand’s contract fits the Tribe well: $6.5 million in 2019, $7 million in 2020 and a team option for $10 million in 2021. The contract was a big reason the Indians were willing to trade Mejia for him. They need him to anchor the bullpen.

4. The Indians have some familiar names coming back: Dan Otero and Adam Cimber. Otero went from having a 2.25 ERA with the Tribe in 2016-17 to 5.22 last season. He was crushed by lefty hitters (.337). The Indians think they can fix some of his problems.

5. Cimber had a 3.17 ERA with San Diego when he was traded to the Tribe with Hand on July 19. But the rookie side-armer had some problems in Cleveland, a 4.05 ERA. Like Otero, he had trouble with lefty hitters (.332).

6. The Indians point to Cimber having a 2.45 ERA in his final 20 appearances. The Indians figured out how best to use him, keeping him away from some talented lefty hitters.

7. Cody Anderson is healthy after having Tommy John elbow surgery. While the Indians will use him as a starter in spring training, I see him with a spot in the bullpen. In relief, he has a 95 mph fastball and a deceptive slider.

8. Coming back from minor elbow surgery is Nick Goody, who had a 2.80 ERA with the Tribe when healthy in 2017. Manager Terry Francona said he was intrigued with Jon Edwards, who fanned 10 in 8⅔ innings when he was called up in September. He had reconstructive elbow surgery in 2016 and didn’t pitch again until 2018.

9. Bullpens drive you crazy. The Indians have a scenario in which Danny Salazar finally gets healthy and helps in relief. They have Nick Sandlin, a second-round pick in 2018 who rose from rookie ball to Class AA. He struck out 36 in 24 innings, walking only three. He had a 3.00 ERA. Sandlin could advance quickly.

10. There are question marks all over the bullpen. The Indians still could bring back Oliver Perez. I expect them to sign someone else eventually, but not for big money.


1. I’m stunned by the contract Miller received from the St. Louis Cardinals. Miller was on the disabled list three times last season for three different injuries: hamstring, knee and shoulder.

2. In 2016, Miller was the best reliever I’ve ever seen with the Tribe. I mean, ever. Between the Indians and Yankees that season, he had a 1.45 ERA with a 10-1 record. In the postseason, he pitched 19⅓ innings, striking out 30. He allowed three runs and was the MVP of the ALCS against Toronto.

3. The Indians traded four prospects to the Yankees for Miller: Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, J.P. Feyereisen and Ben Heller. Frazier has a chance to play an important role, but he has battled major concussion problems. He didn’t play after July 15. He has been cleared for baseball activities in spring training.

4. Even if Frazier and Sheffield become impact players, the trade was worth it because it helped the Indians reach the World Series. Sheffield was traded by the Yankees to Seattle. He was 7-6 with a 2.48 ERA between Class AA and AAA last season and has chance to make the Mariners’ starting rotation.

5. But Miller paid for the 85 innings (counting playoffs) that he threw in 2016. In 2017, he had a 1.44 ERA but was on the disabled list twice with tendinitis of the knee. In 2018, he pitched only 34 innings, had a 4.24 ERA and those three trips to the disabled list.

6. At the age of 33, the injuries should be warning signs. But the Cardinals are desperate for relief. They signed him to a two-year, $25 million deal. He also has a no-trade clause. A healthy Miller is worth it. But a Miller who has been on the disabled list five times in the last two years? It’s risky.

Source Link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Cleveland Indians