"His speed impacts the game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's got the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark occasionally. He can be an interesting part of the bench, when he can change a game with his speed. He's a good little player."
The 25-year-old Carrera has hit just .111 (2-for-18) with one home run through nine Cactus League games this spring, but his speed and defense are what make him an attractive bench option. In 48 games with Cleveland last year, Carrera hit .272 with two homers, six doubles, three triples, eight stolen bases, 11 RBIs and 20 runs scored.
At Triple-A Columbus last year, he hit .294 with 31 extra-base hits, 26 stolen bases, 42 RBIs and 65 runs in 97 games.
Utility man Mike Aviles, who has a 74-percent stolen-base success rate over his career, is already a lock to be on the team's bench. Beyond backup catcher Lou Marson, leading candidates for the other two bench vacancies include Jason Giambi, Ryan Raburn, Yan Gomes and Carrera.
Among the lineup regulars, Cleveland boasts stolen-base threats in Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis and Drew Stubbs. Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera are also capable of swiping 10-plus bases in a season. Given that collection of solid baserunners, the Indians could potentially get away without having another fleet-footed runner on its bench.
"It's not necessary, but it's nice," Francona said. "I think Aviles, although not a burner, he can steal a base. He's a good baserunner and he watches pitchers. He's very intelligent. So he can do that. But, Carrera has kind of the speed where he can outrun [throws] sometimes."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.