CLEVELAND -- Four of the Indians' five arbitration-eligible players this offseason are already virtual locks to begin next season on the Opening Day roster. It made financial and statistical sense to retain the entire group for at least one more year.
Those five players are now eligible to pursue salary arbitration with the Indians for the 2015 season. Players who fall into that category are required to file for arbitration on Jan. 13 before then exchanging proposed salary figures for the upcoming season with their team on Jan. 16. If necessary, arbitration hearings are scheduled to take place from Feb. 1-21.
The Indians had not gone to a hearing with any players since 1991 before winning their cases against Tomlin and pitcher Vinnie Pestano (now with the Angels) last offseason. Cleveland will once again try to reach a deal with arbitration-eligible players prior to a hearing, but the club showed last winter it is not against seeing the process through to the end.
Carrasco (eligible for arbitration for the first time), Chisenhall (first time), Rzepczynski (second time) and Shaw (first time) project to be a part of the Tribe's Opening Day roster as things currently stand. Tomlin, who earned $800,000 last season, is expected to compete for either a rotation or bullpen job in the spring.
The 27-year-old Carrasco was one of baseball's top starters down the stretch, posting a 1.30 ERA in his final 10 starts of the season. The big right-hander went 8-7 with a 2.55 ERA in 134 innings overall and figures to begin the coming year as Cleveland's No. 2 starter behind Kluber.
Chisenhall, 26, had an inconsistent season (he posted a .915 OPS in the first half and .591 OPS in the second), but still turned in the best campaign of his career. Overall, the third baseman compiled a .280/.343/.427 slash line with 13 homers, 29 doubles and 59 RBIs in 142 games.
The 29-year-old Rzepczynski is coming off a strong season, in which he fashioned a 2.74 ERA in a career-high 73 appearances. The southpaw held left-handed batters to a .180 average and has not surrendered a home run to a left-hander in his two seasons (100 appearances, 2.17 ERA) with the Indians. Rzepczynski earned $1.375 million through arbitration last year.
Shaw, 26, set a single-season franchise record by appearing in 80 games for the Indians. That figure led the Majors, representing the first time since 1920 that a Cleveland pitcher led baseball in games pitched. Shaw turned in a 2.59 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings, giving him a 2.91 ERA in 150 games over two seasons with the Tribe.
The 30-year-old Tomlin, who has Minor League options remaining, went 6-9 with a 4.76 ERA in 25 games (16 starts) for Cleveland last season. After being promoted from Triple-A Columbus in May, the righty went 4-2 with a 3.12 ERA, but he went 1-6 with a 6.04 ERA in his next nine outings to lose his spot on the starting staff. Tomlin has gone 29-28 with a 4.89 ERA in 85 career games with the Indians.