The Cleveland Indians took home a series win Sunday against the Oakland Athletics in a 4-2 victory.
This was quite the day for both young men, as Zimmer hit a leadoff home run to start the game and Johnson launched his first career MLB home run in front of friends and family.
Oscar Mercado was in the lineup as well and came around to score once.
Just a few weeks ago we were pondering the future for all three outfielders.
Two of the three are back in the starting lineup Monday.
You may be expecting some moves.
Here they are:
+ Recalled RHP J.C. Mejía from Triple-A Columbus
– Optioned RHP DJ Johnson to Triple-A Columbus pic.twitter.com/bDMkpz6S2f
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 19, 2021
Harold Ramirez remains the other outfielder in the mix as the Indians battle through so many injuries.
Zimmer And Mercado Fighting For Final Chances
Zimmer is 28 years old and Mercado is 26.
And both have, at separate points in time, been seen as potential long-term options in center field.
So what happened?
Zimmer has seemingly been unable to stay healthy since debuting in 2017, and Mercado’s offense totally shattered in 2020 and early in 2021.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) July 18, 2021
If not for the whole list of injuries this year, both could easily be up in trade talks for teams seeking outfield help.
That may still be the case and would explain why the front office is having both play right now before the trade deadline.
However, the injuries also mean the Indians need both players right now just to form a lineup.
What the team decides to do with Rosario, whether that is to trade him or keep him, should determine the fate of whoever performs better between Zimmer and Mercado.
Johnson Getting Another Shot
Johnson is finally getting another shot with the Indians after a few brief stints earlier in the year.
His first promotion came back in May, but a five-strikeout game sent him right back down.
Being in the starting lineup again Monday proves the Indians are set to give him a serious look.
He just turned 26 years old and came over to the organization in the Yan Gomes deal.
Johnson, like Zimmer and Mercado, represents someone who either needs to get a shot or be let go.
Think what the Indians did with Tyler Naquin this past year, for example.
Someone like top prospect Nolan Jones is waiting in the wings and at some point the Indians have to move on from former elite prospects in favor of the next crop of talent.
It is going to come down to performance at this point.
That is the true blessing in disguise for the organization even with all the injuries.
Whoever performs well can be in the equation for 2022, and those who struggle can be moved on from in favor of the next Zimmer, Mercado, or Johnson.