"It's not a secret," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Those guys haven't pitched very well."
The list of bullpen candidates includes Frank Herrmann, Nick Hagadone, Jeremy Accardo, Dan Wheeler, Chris Ray and Robinson Tejeda. Herrmann and Hagadone are on the Indians' 40-man roster, while the other four relief options are in camp as non-roster invitees.
During Thursday's 12-3 win over the White Sox, four of the candidates made appearances for the Tribe, and the the results were inconsistent once again. Combined against Chicago, Herrmann, Wheeler, Accardo and Ray allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits over four innings of work.
Overall in Cactus League play this spring, the six bullpen candidates have posted an 8.31 ERA in 26 innings of work. They have yielded 24 earned runs on 43 hits with 19 strikeouts and six walks. Accardo and Hagadone have been the best of the bunch -- each having a 1.80 ERA over five innings of work.
"With a lot of those guys, we're relying on track record," Acta said. "If they're healthy, and we have plenty of outings left for them to prove that they're healthy and they can be successful, then we'll make a decision based on that. It's a different case than some of the young kids that came to camp, just invited or Minor League free agents.
"We're talking about guys like Wheeler and a guy like Ray and Accardo. They have pitched successfully in the big leagues before, so you kind of give them a little bit more rope before we make a decision on them. If they're healthy and their stuff is there, up until the last day you give them the opportunity to see if they can contribute."
Acta added that any opt-out clauses in the pitchers' contracts will not play a big role in the roster decisions at the end of camp.
Wheeler would be line to earn a $100,000 bonus and a June 1 opt-out clause if he is not on the active roster five days before Opening Day. Accardo can also ask to be released if he is not on the roster by June 1. Ray's deal allows him to request to be released if he is not on Cleveland's 40-man roster by April 3.
"That's not going to put pressure on me or [general manager Chris Antonetti]," Acta said. "If you're not getting people out, you can take that route."