Hagadone on arbitration-eligible list for Indians
Club mulling over non-tender deals before Wednesday's deadline
CLEVELAND -- The Indians had hoped that left-hander Nick Hagadone would have developed into a fixture in their bullpen by now. An unexpected injury last summer robbed the pitcher of a full season and his uncertain status could have the club mulling his place on the roster.
By 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, teams must decide whether to offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. In the Indians' case, Hagadone stands out as a potential non-tender candidate among the club's seven players who are able to go to arbitration this offseason.
Hagadone joins closer Cody Allen, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall ($2.25 million salary in 2015), right-handed relievers Jeff Manship, Zach McAllister and Bryan Shaw ($1.55 million), and right-handed starter Josh Tomlin ($1.5 million) on the Tribe's list of arbitration candidates. Allen, Hagadone, Manship and McAllister are going through the process for the first time.
There are a couple factors that could play into Hagadone being non-tendered.
First and foremost, the left-hander is returning from a unique injury (he fractured the medial epicondyle bone in his throwing elbow on July 15) and will still be rehabbing during the spring. At the time of the injury, which was sustained four pitches into a Minor League rehab appearance with Class A Mahoning Valley, Hagadone was given a timetable of six to nine months for returning to game action.
Hagadone is also out of options, meaning he would need to clear waivers if he is healthy and the Indians want to start him in the Minor Leagues. It is possible that the club would try to re-sign Hagadone to a Minor League contract if it's elected not to tender him a Major League contract prior to Wednesday's deadline.
If Cleveland feels Hagadone's progress this winter indicates he can realistically be ready by Opening Day, and the team believes he can be a viable option of out of the bullpen right away, then tendering him a contract would make sense.
Hagadone, who will turn 30 on Jan. 1, posted a 4.28 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 12 walks in 36 games (27 1/3 innings) prior to the injury last season. He allowed a .273 average and .741 OPS to opposing hitters in the process. That showing was a decline from 2014, when Hagadone logged a 2.70 ERA with 27 strikeouts, six walks and a .214 opponents' average (.636 OPS) in 35 games (23 1/3 innings).
As it stands, the Tribe's bullpen projects to include Allen, Shaw, Manship and McAllister, with a pile of arms competing for the remaining spots. Beyond Hagadone, other lefty relievers in the mix from the 40-man roster include Kyle Crockett and Giovanny Soto.
Prior to the All-Star break, Chisenhall looked like a non-tender candidate, but he changed things with a strong second half in 2015. After a stint in Triple-A, Chisenhall returned to the Majors in late July and made a remarkable transition from third base to right field. Not only did he offer well above-average defense at his new position, Chisenhall had a .288/.353/.404 slash line in the second half.
Tomlin will also be due for a raise after logging a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts with Cleveland after his return from a right shoulder injury. While the 31-year-old right-hander will be competing for a spot on the big league roster in the spring, his potential salary through arbitration looks affordable given the going rate of starting pitching depth on the open market.