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The Cleveland Indians outfield conundrum--EHC Podcast 37

   Tyler Naquin (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)   
Whoever would have thought that Abraham Almonte could cause such a tremor in Cleveland Indians' baseball. The Indians' centerfielder, suspended for 80 games this past week for PED use, had only played 51 games with the Tribe in 2015, and has only played in 166 Major League games over his three-year career, and with three different teams.

His suspension sent 'Tribe Twitter' into a Friday Free-For-All, pondering the demise of a team that would be without their starting centerfielder. Of course, the team's outfield situation hasn't really changed all that much, has it?

Abraham Almonte really wasn't all that great, other than the simple fact that he was "Not Bourn." While Almonte was certainly better than the grand Mike Aviles experiment, he certainly didn't have 'long-term' tattooed on his Indians' time card. The hope prior to spring training was that Almonte and a host of other potential platoon-ites could hold the fort down until the trade deadline in July, or more likely, when Bradley Zimmer has seasoned enough in the minor leagues.

There are a slew of other candidates that could find their way into centerfield, in place of Almonte, and this doesn't even touch upon the simple fact that Michael Brantley had shoulder surgery this offseason, and will likely miss a bit of the first part of the season. While Brantley, himself, has speculated that he could return as early as opening day, it's more likely that the Indians' potential MVP candidate will be back by late April or May.

Oh yeah, and Lonnie Chisenhall is in right field.

He's the anchor.

Lonnie Chisenhall.

...

...

Potential replacements in left and center are Rajai Davis, Colin Cowgill, Michael Choice, Robbie Grossman, Shane Robinson and Will Venable, who was signed the same day that it was announced that Almonte was out.

The most interesting name that could actually claim the starting role in center is 2012 #1 pick, Tyler Naquin, who has slowly made his way through the system, before struggling with injuries in 2015. Yet some believe that the former Aggie is ready to not only fill in for Almonte while he was gone, but could have competed for the starting job before Almonte was suspended. He's a decent defender (although some would over-exaggerate his prowess) with a nice arm. His offense has show steady improvement, which would suggest the type of IQ the Indians' front office likes.

Let's preface all the Naquin talk with the realization that many in the organization don't see him as a long-term, starting option, but prognostications are a lot like opinions. Take them with a grain of salt.

In today's podcast, EHC's Jim Pete and Michael Hattery talk about all the players listed, yes, including Lonnie Chisenhall, and make a late call on who will get the starting job once April rolls into form.

Listen, then click into your iTunes account, give us a rating (four or five would be awesome), and give us a review! You can do that by clicking here! We'll read your reviews (if readable) on our next podcast!

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