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NEOSI Indians Spring Training Roundup: March 18

GOODYEAR, Ariz.– The Indians took part in some split squad action today and took care of business in both games. They toppled the Seattle Mariners, 16-3, and took down the Chicago Cubs 11-4 in Vegas.

** In the game against the Mariners, Yan Gomes hit a grand slam in the top of the third inning to bust the game open and give the Indians a 10-2 lead. Gomes finished the game with five RBI on two hits. Tyler Naquin and Trenton Brooks also each recorded two RBI. On the mound, Mike Clevinger got the win, striking out nine and giving up three runs in four and one-third innings of work.

** Over in Vegas, the team got a huge lift on another grand slam from Eric Haase. Like Gomes, his also came in the third inning. The bomb gave the Tribe a 5-2 lead, one that they would never look back from. Stephen Fife started on the mound in this one, striking out six and giving up four hits and two runs in the win.

Watch both grand slams from today here:

And read the recap of both games over at cleveland.com. With the win, the Indians Cactus League record improves to 15-10-2.

** After the win against Chicago, Jordan Bastian caught up with Terry Francona. See what the Tribe skipper had to say below:

** When Mike Napoli signed a deal to come to Indians spring training, it was with the understanding that it would likely be a short-term situation to help Napoli prove himself enough to earn a contract with another team. The Indians have no Major League roster spot to offer him, but if no other team comes calling, one option for Napoli would be to sign a deal with Triple-A Columbus, giving the Indians some depth behind Yonder Alonso and Edwin Encarnacion, as Bastian writes. Regardless of what happens with the 36-year-old veteran, however, there are no qualms about having brought him onboard:

“I’m glad we brought him,” Francona said. “He has handled it and then some. He has been so good for us. He’s been so good for the guys and good for me and good for everybody. He’s just a special guy, man. There’s no getting around it.”

** How will the 2018 free agent market affect future contract talks? It’s something that Alex Hooper examines over at 923thefan.com. Of course, on the minds of Indians fans is how will this past offseason could potentially affect Francisco Lindor’s future free agency decision:

It can’t help that the 24-year-old potential face of the game is sitting and watching teammate Jose Ramirez technically outperform him in 2017, all while getting paid around $5 million a year. At his potential value by 2021, Lindor could make $5 million every two months.

In his case, the player’s union may push Lindor to wait until his free agency for his age-28 season. This would benefit the union as a whole, as Edwards points out, but some players may want to cash out to avoid losses like the aforementioned of the 2018 class.

** When it comes to the Indians bullpen, the Tribe has some tough decisions to make concerning their one remaining spot. As TJ Zuppe writes over at The Athletic, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Dan Otero, Nick Goody, Tyler Olson and Zach McAllister are all pretty much locked in for a roster spot. Still, decision time is looming and the team will need to trim their roster a bit more.

** Looking to dominate in your fantasy league this year? Check out the 2018 player preview for the Tribe. The projected top five in order is, unsurprisingly: Corey Kluber, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco and Edwin Encarnacion.

Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation's Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42

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