PHOENIX -- The Indians are taking a close look at Ezequiel Carrera this spring in the competition for the fourth outfielder role. Given that Carrera is out of Minor League options, Cleveland essentially has two choices: place him on the active roster or risk losing him in waivers.
"We don't doubt for one second that we'd lose him," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
That belief is based on the versatility that Carrera can offer Cleveland or a team that attempts to claim the outfielder off the waiver wire. Carrera has the ability to play all three outfield positions and he can offer a blend of speed and consistent contact off the bench.
The Indians have their projected starting outfield set with left fielder Michael Brantley, centert fielder Michael Bourn and right fielder Drew Stubbs. Consider all three starters can handle center field, Cleveland can potentially go with a fourth outfielder only capable of playing the corner spots.
A few candidates able to handle the corners include Ryan Raburn, Ben Francisco, Yan Gomes, Chris McGuiness and Jeremy Hermida.
The fact that the 25-year-old Carrera is out of options adds a wrinkle to the situation.
"It's an important answer we have to find out this spring," Francona said. "He's potentially a very good fit on our ballclub, and we need to find out. If not, we'll lose him."
If the Indians do not place Carrera on their Opening Day roster, the ballclub could explore trading him to another team at the end of the spring.
Carrera went 0-for-2 in Monday's game against the A's at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, but the outfielder did belt a solo home run in Sunday's 7-4 victory over the Brewers.
Last season, Carrera hit .272 with two home runs, eight stolen bases, 11 RBIs and 20 runs scored in 48 games for Cleveland. With Triple-A Columbus last year, he hit .294 with six homers, 26 stolen bases, 31 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs and 65 runs across 97 games for the Clippers.
Over the winter, Carrera hit .286 with seven extra-base hits, eight stolen bases, eight RBIs and 22 runs scored in 30 games with Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League.
"There's a lot to like there," Francona said.