Offseason decisions pay off
Indians make big moves, acquire Ryan Raburn
Raburn is now signed to the Tribe. Photo courtesy detroitnews.com
The Cleveland Indians have gotten off to a fast start this Spring Training. The Tribe has shown some life offensively that has been keyed by the additions they made in the offseason.
The surprise of Spring Training so far has been a minor league contract signee in Ryan Raburn.
That name will sound familiar to Tribe fans as he has spent all six of his Major League seasons with Central Division foe, the Detroit Tigers.
As of March 2, Raburn is hitting .600 batting average, four home runs and nine runs batted in. He is stating a strong case as the fourth outfielder. Right now, Bourn, Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs all have spots in the outfield. Swisher can also play the outfield but will play first base when the season starts. Next on the list of possible outfielders are Raburn, Ezekiel Carrera and Ben Francisco.
What helps Ryan Raburn is that he can play the outfield and the infield as well. If he does not slow down for the rest of Spring Training, it is possible that someone like Mike Aviles could get cut. Raburn is a better lifetime hitter than Aviles, and it helps that he can play multiple positions.
The key to the roster lays with designated hitter (DH) Jason Giambi. Giambi cannot play in the field anymore and is limited to the role of DH. Indians' manager Terry Francona has talked a lot in the offseason about not tying up the roster with a player who can only play DH. This was a factor in not bringing back Travis Hafner, and the front office not deciding to go after the legendary Jim Thome or Manny Ramirez.
The Indians will have a big decision to make at the end of Spring Training. Carrera is out of minor league options.
This means that Carrera will have to clear waivers if the Indians want to send him to Triple-A. There is a small chance he will clear waivers if the Indians do decide to go that route. Carrera can play centerfield and left field. He can also be used as a pinch runner late in games because of his speed.
Notes: Michael Brantley will miss about another week as he needed 15 stiches after he was spiked in a game. Also, closer Chris Perez is questionable for Opening Day with a shoulder strain he suffered. If he is not ready, Vinnie Pestano will be the closer for Opening Day.
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