The Indians bullpen has been in flux for the last few seasons, and the 2021 season will be no exception as the club will have yet another new closer in James Karinchak, who fans have been waiting to see in the closer role.
While Karinchak has been the focus of the pen so far, there's another player who could get plenty of attention for the Indians in 2021, a player who is making a comeback after leaving the Indians three years ago.
That player is Bryan Shaw, who for a long time was a whipping boy by Indians fans who for whatever reason never appreciated all the things that Shaw brought to the team.
Shaw was with the Indians from 2013 to 2017, and might be best remembered as the pitcher who allowed the game-winning runs to score in the 10th inning of game seven of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs in 2016.
A lot of Indians fans were happy to drive him out of town when his deal was up.
After seeing some of the options the Indians have had in the pen over the last couple years, a lot of those fans are happy to welcome Shaw right back in the mix.
After leaving Cleveland Shaw went to Colorado, where he struggled going 7-8 in two seasons with an ERA that was near six in each of the two years with the Rockies.
Last year in the shortened season he threw in just six games for the Seattle Mariners, sporting an 18.00 ERA and allowing 12 runs in six innings.
So what gives the Indians confidence that Shaw can return to Progressive FIeld and get outs out of the pen in 2021?
“I played baseball. Sucked. Learned how to pitch again. Had a baby. Came here,” Shaw said. “And now we’re here.”
The Indians are hopeful that the slider that Shaw used successfully in Cleveland during his first tenure can return to form.
He never was able to establish it in Colorado, and it showed with how much he struggled trying to get outs with the Rockies.
Shaw is now 33 years old. He's mature and feels like he's ready to turn the corner and help the Tribe and the pen in 2021.
The team will give him plenty of chances, and if he can produce he should be right in the mix to throw and throw often for the Indians.
“Yeah, we got some new toys to play with as we get going,” Shaw said.
“I'm not going to spoil the surprises for everybody, but we got some new weapons, some new ways to attack some guys. So, we're excited about it.”