As we approach Sept. 1st when the major league rosters can be increased from 25 to 40 players, there is always a lot of speculation about who will be recalled from the minors.
There are really three types of teams at this point in the season: teams fighting for division titles, teams fighting for a wild card and teams that are out of the race for playoff spots.
When you are in the latter category your mission is simple: balance your minor leaguers playing in a playoff atmosphere in the minors vs giving them their first taste of the big leagues to get the jitters out if they make the majors the next season. Teams fall on the either side of that fence even though recently it appears that ML teams value minor league playoff experience over being in the majors with a bunch of guys just playing out the string. Sometimes teams will hand out 'thank you' callups to veteran minor leaguers who have had good seasons and toiled in the minors for years without getting ANY big league playing time.
For the other two categories above, the equation is a much different one: which player(s) can we bring up from the minors who will help us win in September and, possibly, help us in the playoffs if we have spots on our 25 man playoff roster due to having guys on the 60-day DL. For these teams, leaving guys in the minors to get playoff experience is not an issue. Can you help us? OK, you are in the majors.
Right now the Indians are in the first category. They are in first place and, although there is A LOT of season left, they look pretty good to win the AL Central. So, clearly, they are looking for guys who will be able to help them in September AND in the playoffs. With that in mind, here is my assessment on which players they should bring up:
Here is the thinking. You either bring up relievers already on the 40 man roster to eat innings or you bring up starters and put them in the bullpen if you think there stuff will play up in relief as the league won't have 'a book' on them yet. I don't think we have any of the latter but we do have some guys with ML experience who are already on the 40-man roster. Here they are:
My guess is that you will see Shawn Armstrong and Colon in early September and Adams, Morimando and Merritt after Columbus finishes its playoff run.
As I said, I don't see any other pitchers in the minors who we could bring up
The same match applies: Can you help me in September and/or can you help me in the playoffs. Teams have brought up speedsters and minor leaguers with big time power, thinking that as a pinch hitter they may help as, respectively, a pinch runner or a pinch hitter. Here are some thoughts:
Giovanny Urshela - He is a plus defender at 3B. Having him on the roster would increase the size of the rotation for 3B and OF. Even if he didn't hit he might still be valuable as a late inning defensive replacement.
Bradley Zimmer - He has good speed and would be a good pinch runner and defensive replacement. Of course he is not on the 40 man roster so we would have to remove someone but with Colin Cowgill available to be DFA'd, that shouldn't present a problem. BTW Zimmer also go a bump in his performance this summer when he was promoted to AAA so maybe lightning can strike here, as well. Even if it doesn't, Zimmer can still impact the game with his legs and his glove/arm combination.
Erik Gonzalez - With Michael Martinez in the majors I just think you leave Gonzalez in the minors and bring him up at the end of the season.
Yandy Diaz - Another guy who would require Cowgill to be removed, he might be a good guy to have around when you need a pinch hitter as his glove is suspect but his bat looks good. He is a GREAT lightning in a bottle guy, someone who could go through all of Sept and Oct. and give you great ABs because the league doesn't know him
Jesus Aguilar - Like Diaz, a guy without a glove who might be a good ML pinch hitter. Unlike Diaz, Aguilar IS on the 40-man roster AND he has a little big league experience.
Francisco Mejia - Don't laugh. He is the classic lightning in a bottle guy. I don't know his status for the being available for the Rule 5 this winter but, if he is, bringing up now instead of after the season makes more sense. Of course, he has to be able to throw as his throwing is important if he is going to be the catcher in any games.