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What awaits Tribe in '20? Key dates and info

@MandyBell02
January 17, 2020

CLEVELAND -- A new year is a time to reflect on the memories you made over the previous 365 days and to get excited for the year ahead. It’s the time to break out party horns and make resolutions. But most importantly, it’s when we finally reach an acceptable time

CLEVELAND -- A new year is a time to reflect on the memories you made over the previous 365 days and to get excited for the year ahead. It’s the time to break out party horns and make resolutions. But most importantly, it’s when we finally reach an acceptable time to start looking forward to a new year of baseball.

The Indians are returning the majority of their players from last year, but for the first time in almost a decade, they will be featuring a roster without Corey Kluber. With pitchers and catchers reporting in Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 11, a Kluber-less roster is one of the few guarantees about the 2020 club. There are still a handful of questions that need to be answered before Spring Training. Let’s take a look at those, plus everything you need to know in order to get prepared for next season.

Countdown to Spring Training: What are the key dates to know?
Pitchers and catchers will report on Tuesday, Feb. 11, while the rest of the team will come to town by that Saturday, Feb. 15. Cactus League games will begin on Feb. 22 against the Reds at 3:05 p.m. ET. Notably, the Indians will play a split-squad series on Feb. 29 and March 1, with half of the team playing the split-squad A's in Las Vegas for those two days. The Tribe will wrap things up with two exhibition games at Minute Maid Park against the Astros before the regular season begins.

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When is Opening Day?
The Indians will open the 2020 season on March 26 at home against the Tigers.

First road trip?
After playing their first six games at Progressive Field, the Tribe will head just over two hours up the road to open a four-game series in Detroit, followed by a three-game set in Minnesota. For anyone hoping to see some warm-weather baseball, the Indians won’t travel to a southern city until April 27-29 at Tampa Bay.

Complete 2020 schedule

Welcome home
The Indians will welcome Kluber and Trevor Bauer back to Progressive Field in May for the first time since their respective trades. Kluber and the Rangers will come to Cleveland for four games from May 4-7, which means there is a good chance the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner will get the ball. Bauer and the Reds will occupy the visitors’ clubhouse two weeks later on May 19-20.

Three questions that still need to be answered before Opening Day

1. Who will play second base?
The Indians did not pick up Jason Kipnis’ $16.5 million option, leaving second base wide open. They have Christian Arroyo, Yu Chang and Andrew Velazquez, who have already seen time at the big league level, but the addition of César Hernández appears to have answered the question. Now that they have a little financial flexibility after losing Kluber’s $17.5 million contract, the front office may have enough to possibly bring in another position player even after Hernández.

2. Do they add an outfielder?
And here is where the other position player could get brought into the mix. The team has nine outfielders already on its 40-man roster, but none has the bat the Indians really need. Oscar Mercado will certainly be an everyday player, but the other two spots will be up for grabs. Will they have some extra cash to spend to bring in a bigger name like Yasiel Puig? We’ll have to wait to find out.

3. Is extra relief help needed?
The Indians landed 21-year-old Emmanuel Clase in the Kluber trade. The hard-throwing right-hander will pair well with James Karinchak, and the duo will easily raise the bullpen’s average fastball velocity from 2019’s 90.8 mph mark. But do the Indians feel they need to add more? The club lost Nick Goody, Tyler Olson, Dan Otero and Tyler Clippard, and the front office will certainly consider every possible deal to try to better the team between now and Opening Day.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.