GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Tough blow for Gavin Floyd who signed a 1 year, $4 million contract this past offseason with the Indians as he may be needing Tommy John Surgery in the ‘foreseeable future’. Floyd pitched in 9 games last season for the Atlanta Braves before injuring the same elbow and needing season ending reconstructive elbow surgery.
Reigning AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber and two others, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco are guaranteed spots in the Indians’ rotation. Now with Floyd out for the ‘foreseeable future’, lets see who could earn one of the two open spots out of spring training.
1) Danny Salazar: 162.0 IP, 8-11, 3.89 ERA 1.30 WHIP (Career total)
Salazar seems to be the favorite to win one of the two spots in the rotation heading into spring training. He has the most upside of any pitcher vying for the 5th rotation spot. The Indians have a ton of confidence in the youngster who is just 25 years old. After all, he did start the AL wild card game in 2013 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. Salazar doesn’t have to be lights out this spring to win a rotation spot, he just needs to show his command and put up average/above average–like numbers.
2) T.J. House: 102.0 IP, 5-3, 3.35 ERA 1.32 WHIP (Career total)
House also is one of the favorites to win one of the last two rotation spots in 2015. He is just a year older than Salazar and has the potential as well, pitching above expectations in Cleveland last season. House was called up from Triple-A Columbus to replace the injured Zach McAllister in the rotation in May. Needless to say, House stayed in the rotation for the rest of the season.
3) Zach McAllister: 363.1 IP, 19-25, 4.38 ERA, 1.41 WHIP (Career total)
After winning one of the spots in the rotation in 2013, McAllister’s 2014 season was a lost one. After battling a few injuries a season ago, McAllister is now in jeopardy of not making the starting rotation for the 2015 season. McAllister needs a dominant spring training in order to win the last spot in the bullpen. He is out of options so he either has to make the big league club or be put on waivers for other teams to put a claim in on him. One thing the Indians could do is put McAllister in the bullpen since the club will be needing a long relief man.
4) Bruce Chen: 1525.2 IP, 82-80, 4.58 ERA, 1.38 WHIP (Career total)
Bruce Chen was signed by the Indians this past offseason to a minor league contract and could earn a spot in the rotation. He pitched for the Royals the past six seasons posting 718.2 IP, 47-43, 4.53 ERA. He will have to have better stats this spring if he has any hope to pitch for the Indians to start the 2015 season. He has to out-pitch both Danny Salazar and T.J. House this spring to accomplish that feat.
5) Josh Tomlin: 447.2 IP, 29-28, 4.89 ERA, 1.24 WHIP (Career total)
The longshot to make the rotation is Josh Tomlin. Although he has the most Major League experience out of the four, he will also need a great spring to make the rotation let alone the Major League roster. Like McAllister, he is out of options and will need to stand out amongst the competition or possibly be subject to waivers.