By: Jamie Dillon
The 2013 Cleveland Indians will have another year of the “bullpen mafia” dating back a couple years now. They are pretty popular as they have their own Tshirt and have been featured in the MLB Fan Cave. This year the bullpen will have a different look as they lost a key member of the cog and added a new coach to oversee them as a unit.
Kevin Cash was brought over to be the bullpen coach when Terry Francona was named the manager of the Cleveland Indians as he played for Francona for several years. Cash has just retired a few years back so he remembers what it is like to be a player and will bring great insight for these pitchers if they happen to be struggling. One key member that was lost of the “bullpen mafia” was left-hander Tony Sipp who was sent to Arizona in a 3-team deal early in the offseason. Sipp was a great guy paired with all the other guys and will be missed more his off the field actions with the team than on the field, but good luck to Tony in Arizona.
In that same deal that Tony was dealt in the Indians recieved two Arizona, righty Matt Albers and Lefty Bryan Shaw. Two players that had solid years last year and can come in contribute right away this year and join the “mafia”. Albers last split his time between the Red Sox and the Diamondbacks and pitched in 60 and 1/3 third innings and had a nice ERA of 2.39. Shaw on the other hand pitched in 59 and 1/3 innings and had a respectable ERA of 3.49. The two pitchers should have some key spots in the game this year for your Cleveland Indians.
One part of the “bullpen mafia” that is still imminent is the trio of Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perez. Last year if it got to the 7th inning and the tribe had a lead that is exactly who the Indians were turning too and it worked out for the Indians most of the time as it got to be pretty deadly.
Closer Chris Perez is still with the team after causing many disruptions last year with outbursts to the media on various occascions about a mix variety of things. Perez now has his head in check after being visited this offseason by new skipper Terry Francona and spending time with new teammate in Florida Nick Swisher. I fully expect Chris Perez past to be behind him and have a solid year anchoring the backend of the bullpen for the 2013 Cleveland Indians.
The Clevleand Indians will have in camp many bullpen guys that will be trying to compete for at least one or two more spots in the bullpen and there is no telling who it will be. David Huff is all out of options and came up nicely last year September and gave the Indians some solid starts as he could be a nice option for long relief role. Scott Barnes after going back and forth from Cleveland and Columbus will attempt to crack the bullpen as he showed promise at times last year with his werid windup coming at you from the left side. Nick Hagadone will be back and fully healed after all that went on with him last year and being put on the restricted list and working his way into shape. He is one of my favorites as I hope he makes it because he brings you fire from the left side that the Indians currently lack. The last guy that could crack the bullpen is Scott Kazmir who the Indians brought in on a minor league contract to see if he has anything left in the tank.
The Cleveland Indians bullpen should be solid again this year, but as the saying goes you can never judge by what is just on paper. Also you never know with bullpens one year to the next, so here is hoping that the Tribe has another good one.
Thanks for reading ROLL TRIBE 11 days til pitchers and catchers report!!!