Cleveland Indians: 2019 Opening Day roster, oldest player, youngest player, etc

Cleveland Indians (Davidson/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians (Davidson/Getty Images) /

A look at the Cleveland Indians Opening Day roster as the Tribe begins its quest to win the franchise first World Series championship since 1948.

Oldest player: At 37, Oliver Perez is two years older than Hanley Ramirez, who found out he would be making the club on Opening Day eve. “OP” is back after posting a stellar 1.39 ERA in 51 appearances during the 2018 season.

Youngest player: Jake Bauers is 128 days younger than Shane Bieber, and the Indians are counting on the former Top 100 ranked prospect to be an answer in an outfield loaded with question marks. Bauers struggled in Spring Training, but came on toward the end of Cactus League play to bat .275 (.801 OPS).

Highest paid player: Corey Kluber takes up $17.2 million of the Indians’ payroll, which is a reason his name surfaced in multiple trade rumors during the offseason. At least he has the kind of resume that warrants a Scrooge McDuck vault full of gold coins.

MVP candidates: Jose Ramirez and Fransisco Lindor finished third and sixth in MVP voting, respectively, and the Indians are going to need them even more so in 2019.

By getting rid of Yan Gomes and Edwin Encarnacion via trades and losing Michael Brantley to free agency, J-Ram and Frankie are going to have to do it all at the plate.

Longest tenured player: Hard to believe it, but Carlos Carrasco has been with the organization since 2009, when the Indians acquired him a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies for Cliff Lee. He’d be an ace on a lot of staffs, but will be Cleveland’s No. 3 starter in 2019 behind Kluber and Trevor Bauer.

Jason Kipnis is entering his ninth season as an Indian. He started off as a fan favorite, but many a Wahoo faithful have been trying to trade him for the past two years. Kipnis is coming off an OK year at the plate in which he clubbed 46 extra-base hits, 18 of which were home runs. If he hits like he did in his All Star years of 2013 and 2015, the Tribe’s lineup will get a shot of electricity it never could’ve counted on.

Kipnis is dinged up though and will be replaced by 29-year-old Brad Miller, a player with 75 career home runs, 30 of which came during the 2016 campaign when he played for the Rays.

Welcome: Besides Bauers and Hanley Ramirez, other first-year Indians include Jordan Luplow, who was acquired for Erik Gonzalez in a deal with the Pirates during the offseason. Luplow struggled this spring, but hits from the right side of the plate.

Max Moroff also comes from the Pirates and will be a utility infielder.

Welcome back: Carlos Santana was brought back to Cleveland in the trade that brought in Jake Bauers and sent out Edwin Encarnacion.

Santana’s a good player and has added value as a switch hitter, but he has to be viewed as a downgrade when compared to Encarnacion.

Outfield scramble: Leonys Martin will lock down center field defensively. Greg Allen doesn’t have a regular spot to start, but look for him to play every day. He’s a switch hitter, but hit 59 points higher as a lefty. Tyler Naquin is also back, looking to solidify himself a starting job.

The rookies: At 27, Erik Stamets will make his big-league debut with Francisco Lindor injured (calf, ankle). Word on the street is that he can work the leather as well as anyone, but with a .202 average at Triple-A Columbus last season, it may be a good idea to grab a hot dog when he bats.

The starters: Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carrasco, Mike Clevinger and Bieber. Some in the media are picking Trevor Bauer to win the Cy Young Award, while other national scribes are predicting Clevinger becomes an ace. The rotation is the strength of this team and will be the reason the Tribe wins its fourth straight Central crown.

Next. Indians: Unsolicited observations from Opening Day. dark

The pen: Brad Hand will be waiting for the ninth, but Adam Cimber, Dan Otera, Jon Edwards, Neil Ramirez, Tyler Olson and Perez have to get the game to him so he can slam the door.