The Cleveland Indians have been making cuts throughout the week as the team prepares to finalize an Opening Day roster.
The bullpen is one group in focus as several players are fighting for the final few spots.
Heath Hembree was a non-roster invitee in the mix when camp began.
Unfortunately for him, he was released by the Indians over the weekend.
+ RHP Heath Hembree was granted his release and is now a free agent
— Tribeinsider (@tribeinsider) March 20, 2021
The 32-year-old will now look to continue his career elsewhere.
Hembree’s 2021 Spring Results
The veteran reliever made seven appearances this spring.
He only allowed one run in 6.1 innings of work and had six strikeouts in his limited action.
Hembree just clearly didn’t show enough for the Indians to give him a job.
Winning a job was always going to be tough given all the young arms competing for jobs.
Even Bryan Shaw is throwing major heat again in spring training.
#Indians Top velo today by each pitcher vs Rockies
Aaron Civale 92.3 mph
Emmanuel Clase 99.4 mph
Anthony Gose 99.4 mph
Kyle Nelson 93.3 mph
Blake Parker 92.2 mph
Bryan Shaw 96.9 mph
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) March 20, 2021
Hembree is now looking for a job after a rough 2020 season.
He began last year with the Boston Red Sox, where he had been since 2014.
The reliever was then traded to the Philadelphia Phillies to finish off a year where he allowed 19 earned runs in 19 innings of work.
The Indians giving him a shot made perfect sense.
Hembree joined the likes of Shaw, Blake Parker, and Oliver Perez as veterans looking to win a job in Cleveland.
His limited action also built up his own resume for other teams to look at in 2021.
Bullpen Competition Becoming More Clear
The Indians are slowly but surely figuring out the Opening Day roster.
The bullpen appears to be in great shape with a nice mix of young and veteran arms.
The non-roster players fighting for jobs stand out as a major storyline.
Shaw and Perez are hoping Terry Francona wants some familiar faces while a pitcher like Parker hopes the front office is fine with adding yet another veteran to the group.
So far we know that James Karinchak, Emmanuel Clase, and Nick Wittgren are locks in the bullpen.
Trevor Stephan should also be a lock after being a Rule 5 draft pick.
After that there are questions.
Will the Indians give Adam Plutko a role, or send him to waivers?
Is there room for Shaw, Perez, and Parker?
What about the hard-throwing Anthony Gose?
The good news is the organization has a ton of options and doesn’t have to rush young arms into the bullpen if they need more time in the minors.
The Indians could also start the season with veterans and bring up the younger guys at some point later in the season.
The options are there and Hembree won’t be the last reliever to be let go before the season begins.
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