David Cooper Rumors

Minor Moves: Cooper, Flores, Perez

Here are today's minor moves from around the league…

  • Indians first baseman David Cooper has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, the club announced on Twitter. He'll be back in camp as a non-roster invitee. Cleveland designated him for assignment to make room for Justin Sellers on the 40-man roster.
  • The Royals have inked catcher Jesus Flores to a minor league deal that doesn't include a Spring Training invite, according to the team's transactions page. Flores, 29, hasn't appeared in a big league game since 2012 with the Nationals but spent parts of five seasons with Washington's Major League team. In 1014 career plate appearances in the Majors, the Venezuelan backstop is a .241/.289/.375 hitter.
  • The Rays have signed right-hander Sergio Perez to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league Spring Training, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The signing marks a homecoming for the 29-year-old, who was born in Tampa and played college ball at the University of Tampa. The Astros selected Perez in the second round of the 2006 draft, and he's climbed as high as Triple-A in the minor leagues, posting a career 4.74 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9. He began the 2013 campaign with the Athletics and wound up spending the bulk of the season pitching for the Mexican League's Pericos de Puebla.

Indians Acquire Justin Sellers, Designate David Cooper

The Indians have acquired infielder Justin Sellers from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced.  In a corresponding move to create a 40-man roster spot for Sellers, the Tribe has designated first baseman David Cooper for assignment.

Sellers was himself designated for assignment by L.A. last week and the move to Cleveland frees him from DFA Limbo.  Sellers was originally a sixth-round draft pick for the Athletics in 2005 and he has 266 Major League PA under his belt as a Dodger from 2011-13.  The 28-year-old has a career .199/.278/.301 slash line in the bigs, though he has much more impressive numbers over his last four minor league seasons.

Sellers has experience at second and third but has primarily been a shortstop for much of his professional career.  He gives the Tribe more middle infield depth, as he'll be in the mix with Mike Aviles and Elliot Johnson as the primary infield backup to Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Cleveland signed Cooper to a Major League deal in December, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (via Twitter) that the Tribe will keep Cooper as a non-roster player in camp if he clears waivers.  Cooper last played in the Majors in 2012 as a member of the Blue Jays as he struggled with a possible career-ending back injury before undergoing surgery and recovering enough to play 13 minor league games for the Indians last season.  The left-handed hitting first baseman was Toronto's first round pick (17th overall) in 2008 and he has a .301/.376/.470 line over 2298 career PA in the minors, plus a .750 OPS in 226 Major League PA.

Ohio Notes: Reds, Indians, Carroll, Axford

Here's the latest from both teams in the Buckeye State…

  • The Reds are lacking in shortstop depth behind Zack Cozart and MLB.com's Mark Sheldon wonders if the club will address this issue before Spring Training.  The pickings are slim on the utility backup shortstop market, and they became even slimmer when Jamey Carroll recently signed with Washington.  The Reds weren't in on Carroll, Sheldon reports.  (The Indians, however, were one of Carroll's suitors.)
  • It's been a quiet offseason for the Reds, and ESPN's Dave Cameron (Insider subscription required) argues that the team has done little to keep pace in the NL Central.  Cameron suggests three moves involving Homer Bailey, the rotation and the backup outfield spot that would help upgrade the Reds' roster for 2014 and beyond.
  • After he was traded to the Cardinals last summer, John Axford was surprised to learn from St. Louis coaches that he was tipping his pitches, the reliever told John Lott of the National Post.  Axford discusses the adjustments that led to turning his season around as a Cardinal, and his subsequent signing with the Indians.
  • The Indians may have a few million dollars in remaining payroll to spend, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.  The front office plans to wait until right before Spring Training and then use these potential funds if a player they like is still on the market.
  • Also from Pluto, David Cooper also received a Major League contract offer from the Rays before the first baseman chose to re-sign with the Indians in December.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer covers a number of Indians-related topics in a reader mailbag, including whether or not there's a spot for Michael Young on the Tribe's roster.
  • Roto Authority, MLBTR's fantasy baseball-focused sister site, has relaunched for 2014 with all-new content.  One of the many articles from RA's opening week was Alex Steers McCrum's piece about how the Tribe's plan to give Yan Gomes the bulk of playing time behind the plate makes Gomes a strong fantasy catching option.

Indians Sign David Cooper

The Indians announced that they have signed first baseman David Cooper to a Major League contract. Cooper is represented by CAA Sports.

As profiled in an excellent piece from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick earlier this year, Cooper made a comeback from a career-threatening back injury in 2013. A radical thoracic spinal surgery saved Cooper's career and allowed him to begin a comeback attempt with Cleveland's minor league affiliates in 2013. Cooper hit .314/.364/.373 in 55 plate appearances between the Rookie League and Triple-A last year. Formerly selected 17th overall by the Blue Jays in the 2008 draft, Cooper batted .300/.324/.464 in 145 PAs for the Jays in 2012.

Cooper likely will provide the Tribe with a bench bat that has enough upside to potentially grow into a larger role. The 26-year-old is a career .341/.417/.525 batter in parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level.

Crasnick was the first to report that the two sides were close to a deal.

Indians Nearing Deal With David Cooper

The Indians are closing in on a Major League deal with first baseman David Cooper, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).

The 26-year-old Cooper was the 17th overall selection by the Blue Jays in the 2008 draft and began a comeback from injuries with the Indians' minor league affiliates in 2013. Cooper batted .314/.364/.373 in 55 PAs with the Tribe's Rookie league and Triple-A affilates last season. In parts of three Triple-A seasons, Cooper is a .341/.417/.525 batter. He batted .300/.324/.464 in 125 PAs with the Blue Jays in 2012.

Earlier this season, Crasnick profiled Cooper's career-threatening spinal injury that was alleviated by a radical thoracic spinal surgery.

David Cooper Opts Out Of Contract With Indians

First baseman David Cooper has opted out of his contract with the Indians, the team announced on Twitter. The lefty signed a minor league deal with the Tribe earlier this month that included a clause permitting him to opt out if he was not added to the big league roster by the end of August. 

Cooper had shown promise, but saw his career derailed when a serious back injury led to his release by the Blue Jays this spring. Still just 26, Cooper put up a .300/.324/.464 triple slash in 145 plate appearances for the Jays in 2012. Since signing with Cleveland a few weeks ago, Cooper has put up a .192/.250/.192 line in 26 Triple-A plate appearances, although his stint at the Rookie ball level was more successful given his collective .314/.364/.373 line over 55 total plate appearances in the Cleveland system.


Indians Sign David Cooper

The Indians announced that they have signed first baseman David Cooper to a minor league deal.  Cooper can opt out of the contract in late August if he's not added to the major league roster by that time, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). The 26-year-old is a client of CAA Sports.

Cooper appeared in 45 games for the Blue Jays in 2012 as a first baseman and designated hitter and posted a .300/.324/.464 batting line in 145 plate appearances, including four home runs.  He was released in March by Toronto after missing significant time with a back injury.  The problem was apparently serious enough to make retirement a possibility.

Yankees Notes: Rivera, Chamberlain, Cooper

While it’s possible to replace Mariano Rivera for a day or even for a season, replacing him for 15 to 20 years represents another challenge altogether, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out. “You are replacing someone who has done things in the game that may never be done again,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told Sherman. “You are replacing someone who is basically irreplaceable.” Rivera will retire following the 2013 season.

Here are more Yankees-related notes…

Blue Jays Release David Cooper

The Blue Jays released first baseman David Cooper, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The CAA Sports client is now a free agent. 

Cooper has missed Spring Training with a serious back injury. The injury could lead to a season of rehabbing and might even end his career, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes (on Twitter). Sherman suggests the Blue Jays might try to sign Cooper to a minor league deal with an eye toward a 2014 return and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com confirms that the Blue Jays have interest in re-signing Cooper (Twitter link).

 Cooper, 26, appeared in 45 games for the 2012 Blue Jays as a first baseman and designated hitter. He posted a .300/.324/.464 batting line in 145 plate appearances, including four home runs. All six of the left-handed hitter's career home runs have come against right-handed pitching. Cooper, the Blue Jays' first round pick in 2008, has less than one year of MLB service time (136 days).

AL East Notes: Jones, Cooper, Ellsbury

It was on this day in 1945 that Jackie Robinson (along with fellow Negro League players Marvin Williams and Sam Jethroe) participated in a tryout for the Red Sox at Fenway Park.  None of the trio were signed and Robinson signed his ground-breaking contract with the Dodgers later in the year.  The Red Sox ended up being the last team to integrate its roster — Pumpsie Green appeared in a game as a pinch-runner on July 21, 1959, over 12 years after Robinson's Major League debut.

Here's the latest from the AL East…

  • If Adam Jones hasn't signed a contract extension with the Orioles by July, the team should consider a trade, opines Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com.  Jones and the O's discussed a multiyear deal over the winter but talks were tabled.  The 26-year-old has only helped his case for a big contract with a hot start to the season (a 1.052 OPS though Sunday's action) and has one more year of arbitration eligibility before potentially hitting the free agent market after the 2013 season.  A Jones trade would be an unpopular move in Baltimore but the Orioles would undoubtedly receive a good haul of prospects in return for the center fielder.
  • With Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind filling the Blue Jays' DH and first base spots, minor league first baseman David Cooper could become trade bait later this year, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.  Cooper posted a .974 OPS at Triple-A last season and led the Pacific Coast League with a .364 average but hit just nine homers, leading to doubts about whether he has the power to contribute at the Major League level.
  • The Red Sox have enough hitting to weather the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but the team's key problem is still its lack of rotation depth.  In the same piece, Morosi notes that the Giants also have the bullpen arms to survive Brian Wilson's season-ending elbow injury but could have an unexpected starting pitching problem of their own if Tim Lincecum continues to struggle.