One of the most under appreciated aspects of championship teams is not the superstar players, but rather those players sitting on the bench. Baseball is a long season with 162 games, and nearly two months of spring training before that. Players get hurt, and that is part of the game. But baseball is just as much of a mental game as it is physically or athletically. Both pitchers and hitters will endure their slumps at some point throughout the season. And while playing through these slumps is necessary in order to regain their groove, having players step in who can contribute is crucial for any team looking to go all the way.
This Indians ball club is loaded with both veterans and young players looking to fill these roster spots. Manager Terry Francona has brought in his former starting pitcher with Boston Daisuke Matsuzaka who is battling for one of the final spots of Cleveland's starting rotation. Other notable players looking to make the Tribe include lefty starting pitcher Scott Kazmir, sluggers Jason Giambi and Ryan Raburn, and first basemen Chris McGuiness, who was added through the rule 5 draft from the Texas Rangers.
Each one of these players adds a unique element that could really help the Indians make a strong push for the playoffs both on and off the field. Francona has already preached about the veteran leadership Jason Giambi has provided for this young team, and Raburn who is known as a streaky hitter, has three home runs in his first three at bats for the Tribe this spring training.
Francona will likely have some tough decisions to make for these final spots, but that is a good problem for any major league team to have moving forward. At some point throughout this 2013 season, Francona will be counting on these players who join the club to step in when necessary, and be prepared everyday to make an impact with the Indians.Tags: Baseball, Chris McGuiness, Cleveland, Cleveland Indians, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jason Giambi, MLB, Ryan Raburn, Scott Kazmir, Terry Francona