Cleveland Indians: Jake Bauers could be on bubble to make 25-man roster

Cleveland Indians Jake Bauers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians Jake Bauers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians recently signed Carlos Gonzalez, which could mean recently acquired OF/1B Jake Bauers begins the season the minor leagues.

Recently acquired first baseman/outfielder Jake Bauers may be in danger of starting the season in the minors, according to columnist Terry Pluto.

The longtime scribe recently analyzed how the Tribe’s signing of right fielder Carlos Gonzalez would impact the club.

Gonzalez is only guaranteed $2 million if he makes the big-league roster. While his production at the plate has dipped, he’s still an excellent defensively, ranking second among NL right fielders last season, according to FanGraphs.

Pluto then brought up the topic of Tyler Naquin, a player Terry Francona has been talking up to him a lot. The former first-round pick would flip over to left field, so CarGo could play right, which means Jake Bauer may not make the club.

Bauers was supposed to start in left against right-handed pitching, but as Pluto speculated, he could still make the club because Gonzalez may need a little more time to get himself into shape.

"“I’m not sure [Bauers] makes the team. Or he may make the team early, because it’s doubtful Gonzalez will be ready for the March 28th opener. He will need more than two weeks of camp to prepare."

Bauers is really having a rough go of it in the desert, batting .216 with 11 strikeouts through 14 games. He said he got into the habit of pulling the ball last season with the Rays, when he hit a paltry .201. The Indians received Bauers in the trade that sent Yandy Diaz to Tampa.

He’s only 23 and last year at this time, he was on the list of MLB’s 100 top ranked prospects. Basically, there’s still plenty of time for Bauers to emerge. Don’t be discourage if he opens the season with Clippers.

1. It’s only been 27 plate appearances, but Hanley Ramirez has a couple extra base hits and his batting .240. The Tribe is loaded with left handed hitters, especially after the CarGo signing. It’s nice having his bat in the lineup.

2. Speaking of those left-handed hitters…CarGo, Leonys Martin, Naquin and Bauers all hit from the left side. Greg Allen is a switch hitter, but he hits dramatically better as a left hander facing right-handed pitching.

3. Terry Francona has been asked about his left-handed overstock, and the future Hall of Fame skipper basically said that it doesn’t matter which side of the plate guys bat from. He just guys who hit. Period.

That’s another reason Bauers could open the season in the minors. He’s just not hitting and being so young, it looks like he’s pressing. Pressing and hurting the lineup is one thing in the spring, it’s another thing to do it when the games start to count.

4. Speaking of pressing, Jordan Luplow is struggling to hit .100. It’s tough to see young guys struggle in the desert, because they have no track record to fall back on. Hanley Ramirez isn’t tearing things up, but he’s doing OK, and he’s produced at the big-league level before.

That’s just not the case with Bauers and Luplow.

Luplow is a right-handed stick and one of things being talked about him was that he never got a chance to prove his staying power with Pittsburgh. The Pirates dealt him for shortstop/infielder Erik Gonzalez.

5. Trayce Thompson is a dark horse candidate to make the 25-man roster. The 28-year-old veteran is playing well this spring batting .333 in 35 plate appearances. No guarantee that will continue when the season starts, but he does hit from the right side of the plate.

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6. Keep doing your thing, Jon Edwards. The reliever has a great shot to make the team after not allowing a run in 7 2/3 innings.