The Cleveland Indians have some tough competitions taking place both in the starting rotation and the bullpen.
Adam Plutko is one player who could end up in either role.
That means he needs to make the Opening Day roster to stay with the team.
If he doesn’t, he must be placed on waivers before potentially signing a minor league deal with the Indians.
But hitting waivers would likely mean a team out there snatches him up due to his experience as a starter and reliever.
So does Plutko have a role with the team in 2021?
Adam Plutko, K'ing the side.
Because that's just what Cleveland starters do. pic.twitter.com/SHNJSxt9K4
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 29, 2020
Plutko as a Starter
There is a slight possibility Plutko could open the season as the fifth starter.
That may actually work out best for the Indians because service time would be saved for both pitchers.
The Indians aren’t going to do that.
This comes down to how much the Indians value Plutko.
If they only want him as a starter, he would be on a short leash given all the talent behind him.
Plutko as a Reliever
"This is why I did it all."
— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) September 23, 2020
The bullpen is a more likely landing spot for Plutko.
This means Allen or Quantrill can start getting real starting experience and the Indians won’t have a fringe roster player taking up one of the five rotation spots.
Plutko has started in 36 of his 50 career appearances, but has a career 5.05 ERA in his time with the team.
Trying him out as a middle reliever makes the most sense given the better arm talent at the backend of the bullpen.
Other teams may decide to cut something like Plutko and simply move on in favor of the younger talent.
But hanging on to players like this is something the Indians front office has done for years.
They are perfectly fine with leaving younger talent in the minors and saving them for later in the season.
Indians fans can have some fun looking at past Opening Day rosters and seeing the random veteran players who barely ended up lasting a month with the team.
The Indians have invested years of time into Plutko at this point.
Ultimately, it will come down to how he looks in spring training.
That is where he is in an open competition and the team can simply let the talent rise to the top.