The Cleveland Indians have informed starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and relief pitcher Matt Capps that neither will make the team’s 25-man Opening Day roster.
Per reports from Goodyear, Arizona, the team desires to keep both players within the system, but would have to do so via retention bonuses if they were willing to report to Columbus and play with the Triple-A affiliate Clippers. If Matsuzaka decided to take the trip, he would be eligible for $100,000 and an opt-out clause that would take effect on June 1. Per Jordan Bastian of Indians.com, the same scenario would then apply to Capps.
The players would have until March 26 to accept or reject the team’s offer. If they opt for the latter, they would subequently become free agents. Matsuzaka reportedly chose to come to Cleveland this winter due to his relationship with manager Terry Francona.
The Indians’ race for the fifth spot in the starting rotation appears to be down to Scott Kazmir, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. Multiple reports — coupled with his solid spring training numbers 1 – appear to have Kazmir as the odds-on favorite.
[Related: McAllister Clinches, Kazmir vs. Dice-K, The Race For Bench & The Harlem Shake]
The left-hander has been fantastic this spring, striking out 13 over 11 scoreless innings while sitting around 91-92 mph with his fastball.