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Should the Tribe retain Josh Tomlin?

Josh Tomlin is coming off the worst season of his career. With all the free agents the Cleveland Indians have this offseason, should Tomlin be one they keep?

No. Okay but seriously he shou- no.

Josh Tomlin is a great person. Love the guy. Salt of the earth. Good clubhouse presence, everybody seems to like him. But no.

There is seemingly no way the Cleveland Indians could bring him back. At best he deserves a spring training invite to try and win a spot in the bullpen solely because the bullpen was bad enough this past year that they could make room for him.

Honestly, I think a long reliever type role for Tomlin would be perfect, because he’s never been a guy to go much past six innings of work anyways.

But even if he cleans up his play and returns to a more consistent form, there’s no possible way he cracks the starting rotation, and I’m not sure he will even have the chance to show any improvement.

Tomlin was atrocious in 2018. 6.14 ERA and 25 home runs given up in just 70.1 innings. That’s almost a home run every two and two thirds innings. That’s 3.2 home runs every 9 innings. That’s the second most home runs he’s given up in his career, the first most being 36 in a year where he pitched nearly 104 more innings.

92 hits, averaged over one per inning. 48 earned runs, over one every two innings. Need more stats proving Tomlin was terrible? Probably not, but I got them for you.

46 strikeouts, second-lowest mark of his career, first being 43 in a rookie season where he pitched just 73 innings (but even that year he gave up fewer runs and hits than in 2018).

Worst WHIP of his career (1.479) and the worst FIP of any pitcher in 2018 (7.16), nearly a point higher than the next worst and no other pitcher since at least 1950 has had over 6.50, let alone even touched seven. That is essentially a metric saying Josh Tomlin’s 2018 was the worst pitching season since 1950 and by far.

Want to get obscure? Let’s get obscure. He had the most hit batters of his career (4), most wild pitches in his career (5) and second worst runs better than replacement level (-10) in his career.


So I try to be a Josh Tomlin apologist, remember his solid 2016 season and postseason and say he deserves a chance to win a roster spot. But the Indians have nine players hitting free agency, at least three to five of them are must retain and the Tribe rarely have enough money to go around.

Not to mention, they’re a team that should seriously look at making a splash in free agency and could use any money they can get.

Even though Tomlin’s deal would only set the Indians back around two million a year, when Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Josh Donaldson are looking for new deals, that one to two million could be the difference between retaining or losing one of those guys.

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So while his tenure and history with the team may make him deserving of a chance to at least win a spot, there’s not much reason to retain Josh Tomlin.

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