Cleveland Indians: Jim Thome and 6 Players Who Won't Be Back Next Year
The Indians have taken a leap forward that no one outside of the clubhouse saw coming. While it may be too late to contend in 2011, 2012 and beyond look bright for one of the youngest teams in baseball.
With that bright future in mind, there are a lot of players on the roster that should not be.
For the Tribe to continue to improve, many players on the current roster should be shown the clubhouse door—not the one that leads to the field.
Whether it be purely a contract situation or overall poor play, the following players in this slideshow should not be a part of a future Indians squad.
While the Tribe's bullpen is easily the strongest part of the club, Chad Durbin has certainly nothing to do with it.
Durbin is the veteran of the pen but easily its weakest link.
With a 5.33 ERA and 1.54 WHIP, Durbin offers almost nothing to any club. He is essentially only used as a long reliever when the starter gets shelled, and even then he can't pitch effectively.
The bullpen at Triple-A Columbus is filled with major league-ready arms, whether it be Nick Hagadone, Josh Judy, Zach Putnam or CC Lee. Any one of those players could fill Durbin's cleats and pitch better.
All four of those players will compete for Durbin's spot after the veteran is not offered a contract in the offseason.
A recent call-up by the Tribe, Jerad Head is the son of two dyslexic parents. Well, I can only assume so because of his first name.
Regardless, what Head actually is, is an organizational filler.
The 28-year-old is experiencing his first taste of big-league ball after breaking out at Triple-A Columbus this year with a .284/.338/.526 slash line.
Head has slugged 24 home runs for the Clippers when his previous career high was 17.
Due to the fact that his upside is limited and he has no room for growth, Head will never have a spot on the Indians' roster.
Perhaps he can make an occasional start if injuries hit the Tribe's outfield again, but he may not be able to do much with the opportunity.
Kosuke Fukudome was acquired from the Chicago Cubs before the trade deadline due to a rash of injuries in the Indian's outfield.
Since Cleveland will return to the field healthy next year, Fukudome has nowhere to play.
As a fourth outfielder, he'd be a great addition to the squad. But I don't think that the Japanese native will want to accept such a role.
Fukudome offers minimal speed and about as much power as a state senator.
His BA is solid and his OBP is above-average, but the Indians have players with much more upside on the squad.
Despite the fact Fukudome waived his no-trade clause to join the Tribe, I don't think he will look into joining them for the 2012 season.
I'm split on Jack Hannahan.
I love how he replaced Lonnie Chisenhall late in games as a defensive replacement to help preserve leads.
But eventually, Chisenhall has to stand on his own two feet.
Chisenhall has struggled thus far in 2011, but he still has a beautiful swing and has slowly been improving his defense at the hot corner.
In the short term, having Hannahan replace Chisenhall late in games and every couple of days can probably help the Indians win a few more games.
But for the long term, it is best to let Chisenhall work out his kinks as much as he can by playing nearly every day.
I love Shelley Duncan as an Indian.
His leadership always seems to have a positive impact on the club, and as a right-handed bat with power he is exactly what the Indians need as a bench bat.
Unfortunately, he can't produce. That's why he'll be gone next year.
Whenever I see Duncan's name on the lineup card, I die a little inside.
In 47 games, Duncan has just 10 doubles and four home runs.
Duncan is best used as a pinch-hitter, but Acta usually prefers to keep him on the bench.
Its evident that Duncan does not have a future with this club, since he's always the corresponding move when a player is promoted to Triple-A.
The front office tries to keep him out of the Progressive Field clubhouse as much as possible, which is a shame because he has such a great presence in there.
Due to Jason Kipnis exploding onto the major league stage, Cord Phelps' shaky future in Cleveland is all but over.
Phelps may only be able to be an everyday player for a few seasons before being relegated to a utility role due to lack of power or speed.
I prefer Jason Donald over Phelps in all aspects.
Phelps may end up spending the entire 2012 season at Triple-A Columbus until being traded at the deadline if the Indians acquire another piece.
Enjoy it while it lasts Cleveland.
While Jim Thome's homecoming has been immensely celebrated on the shores of Lake Eerie, the reunion will probably be short lived.
Thome can only play DH at this point in his career, and the Indians are not going to use Travis Hafner and his massive contract as a timeshare.
Both Thome and Hafner are practically the same player. Both are left-handed and are players fading as they age.
While it would certainly be nice to keep Thome in Cleveland, it makes no sense to have two DHs on the roster.
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