The Cleveland Indians had several key roster decisions to make this week.
As it turned out, they did not take much time to decide.
The Indians answered questions in center field, the bullpen, shortstop, and the starting rotation with a handful of moves.
Now, barring any unforeseen trades, the Opening Day roster appears to be set.
The Athletic’s Zack Meisel rounded up the squad.
Barring any unexpected changes, here's Cleveland's Opening Day roster pic.twitter.com/cbLGTQGnyH
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 28, 2021
Let’s take a look at the different groups.
A Few Surprises in the Lineup
Bauers is out of minor league options so the decision made sense.
The alternative was releasing him or trading him after one season of play in 2019.
The Indians were never going to do that and Bradley remains waiting for his opportunity in the minors.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 15, 2019
Mike Freeman was initially someone in the utility conversation.
The Indians made the right decision by going with Chang, who has more upside and needs some more reps in the majors.
He may even end up landing a job at an infield position if he outshines the competition.
Center field remains a bit of a surprise, even if those paying close attention saw the writing on the wall.
This is a surprise given Zimmer and Mercado being around for several years and both seeming like the future at the position.
However, Zimmer has dealt with injuries and Mercado looked terrible at the plate in 2020.
Pitching Staff Figured Itself Out
The bullpen was a main focus throughout March and slowly became more clear as time went on.
Trevor Stephan was also a given after being taken in the Rule 5 draft.
Phil Maton also did enough to warrant keeping his job.
The real question came down to that final spot.
Slowly but surely, the roster started to form with each and every move.
Having a clear roster picture is great.
But Indians fans are used to seeing the roster change drastically throughout any given season.
That should once again be the case now that there are lingering questions at the positions that had competitions this spring.