The Cleveland Indians were hoping to finally see Bradley Zimmer live up to his potential in 2021. The Indians are in desperate need of help in the outfield and the team will more than likely run with a patchwork outfield to break spring training. Zimmer was the odds-on favorite to win the job but non-roster invitee Ben Gamel and former shortstop turned outfielder Amed Rosario will be the ones to play in center field.
Rosario is a solid infielder defender, especially at shortstop but he’s being asked to move to a whole new position, which means a learning curve will be the thing. It’s not hard to see why Rosario though got the call to try the position, as he’s a heck of a hitter. He’s a .268 career hitter, with a .705 OPS, with 50 career stolen bases and 148 career RBI’s. He’s not Manny Machado at the plate, but Rosario is an effective offensive player.
Gamel is obviously going to be the defensive option unless he can out-hit Rosario. Gamel only has nine career errors in the outfield and has a good amount of starts in centerfield, though he was mostly a starter in left for previous clubs. He’s a career .268 hitter, with 23 career home runs and 126 career RBI’s.
What this means for Zimmer is anyone’s guess but it’s not hard to assume where they go from here with him. He’s lost his spot to a player who isn’t an outfielder and a guy who, on paper, he should be outperforming offensively. This doesn’t look good for Zimmer. You could easily argue that he isn’t going to be an impact player for this club this year, if ever.
With Zimmer’s history of injury, the fact he’s quickly getting older (currently 28), his lack of consistency at the major league level, and now the fact that he can’t beat out guys that he really should’ve, the talk of Zimmer being a bust wouldn’t be unwarranted.
With all the hype he had, and how chaotic the outfield will be to start the 2021 season, for Zimmer to not be able to beat out Rosario and Gamel shows you just how bad he was in spring training.