The Cleveland Indians potential Opening Day roster is beginning to take shape and the most intriguing position of all may officially have a starter.
That would be shortstop and the likely starter is Andres Gimenez.
The Indians decided to shift Amed Rosario to the outfield and manager Terry Francona all but said Gimenez has won the job.
Indians beat reporter Zack Meisel grabbed the telling quote.
Terry Francona wouldn't specifically say Andrés Giménez is the Opening Day shortstop, but he all but confirmed as much.
"Part of the reason we felt comfortable enough to move Amed [Rosario] is because of what we see in Giménez. … This kid is a really bright spot for us."
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 13, 2021
Gimenez is living up to the hype so far in spring training.
Gimenez Earning Himself a Starting Job
Gimenez was the centerpiece of the Francisco Lindor trade and always appeared to be the favorite for the job over Rosario.
So far this spring he already has two home runs and only one strikeout.
The only way he was going to start in the minors was if the Indians wanted to save some of his service time.
However, having so much young talent on the roster means service time can’t always be the top concern.
The Indians are, at least right now, committed to winning in 2021 and that means getting the best players on the field.
Rosario ending up in the outfield is a bit of a surprise given his lack of experience there.
That may point to a general lack of faith in Oscar Mercado and Bradley Zimmer if Rosario is supposed to hold down the job in center field.
But we will all see how the plan plays out.
An Obvious Opening Day Starter
The shortstop race is one of the most intriguing storylines of the month.
One race without any drama was the one for the ace of the staff.
The Indians officially named Shane Bieber as the Opening Day starter for the second straight season.
If anyone is surprised, they may be new to the fandom.
Or to the planet.
Not so breaking news: Tito said Shane Bieber will be the Opening Day starter.
"I don't think that's a big secret."
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) March 12, 2021
Corey Kluber was the Opening Day starter every year from 2015 through 2019.
Then Bieber took that role in 2020 and could have it for the next decade if he remains in Cleveland.
The 25-year-old only made his debut in 2018 and is the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.
2021 will also only be his second full MLB season.
Bieber may only be approaching his peak even after being named the best pitcher in the AL in last year’s shortened season.
There are still plenty of questions behind Bieber in the rotation.
Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, and Triston McKenzie are all being relied upon to do great things after nice, yet small, sample sizes.
Trying to find another Bieber may be impossible, but all three do look like legitimate long-term options in the rotation.
Naming an Opening Day starter means actual meaningful baseball is right around the corner.
Bieber being on the mound from the start is a great way for the season to get underway.
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