Ryan Raburn Rumors

Indians Notes: Trades, Floyd, Bere, Cloyd

The Indians have a logjam of players who can handle right field, first base and DH, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that the surplus doesn’t mean a trade is likely. David Murphy‘s name has come up in rumors, but team has to first determine the health status of Nick Swisher, Brandon Moss and Ryan Raburn. Swisher had surgery on both knees in August, Moss had hip surgery in October and Raburn had left knee surgery in September in addition to dealing with a sore wrist for much of the season. Hoynes provides a health update on each player, and he also spoke with Francona, who sounded happy to have a number of options on his hands: “You walk that fine line. You have guys who expect playing time … but at the same time we can’t let our season be derailed by the unknown. I think [GM] Chris [Antonetti] did a really god job protecting us … I think it’s going to make us a better team and protect us from the unknown.”

A couple more Indians notes…

  • The Indians’ signing of Gavin Floyd was all about adding depth and innings to a promising but young rotation, writes MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. While the team does have other arms that had figured to compete for time in the rotation, they can continue to develop in the upper minors and remain ready to step in if a need arises.
  • Also from Bastian, the club announced today that Jason Bere, a special assistant to the baseball operations department, has been named the club’s new bullpen coach in the wake of Kevin Cash’s departure to manage the Rays. “He’s been with the organization a long time, so everybody knows him,” Francona told Bastian. “By design, we had him around a lot, not just in Spring Training, but in September and at a few key points during the year, because of what he can add to a staff.”
  • After receiving his release today from Cleveland, righty Tyler Cloyd is expected to reach agreement with the KBO’s Samsung Lions, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The club had announced that it was releasing Cloyd so that he could pursue an opportunity in Korea.

AL Notes: Rays, Red Sox, Raburn

The Rays are trying to maintain their focus despite the possibility of pitcher David Price being traded, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports. “It’s something I try not to think about, and I try not talk about it with my teammates,” says Price. “That’s the last thing I want them to be doing, is thinking about if we don’t win I could be gone.” More losing could encourage the Rays’ management to deal Price, Mooney suggests. The Rays had won nine of 11 games before losing their last two, but they’re in last place in the AL East, 10.5 games out of first. Here’s more from the American League.

Indians Rumors: Jimenez, Outfielders

The Indians are reportedly open to trading Justin Masterson and have been in contact with the Yankees, but there are reportedly no legs to those talks and Cleveland isn't near a trade of any player. A couple of other Tribe notes…

AL Central Notes: White Sox, Raburn, Indians, Kazmir

As the Tigers do everything they can to run away with the division, let's check in with some of their competitors in the AL Central:

  • GM Rick Hahn's plans for the White Sox are better characterized as a "reshape" than a "rebuild," according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "It's not in our nature to write off any season," said Hahn. "You see too many teams make fairly quick and significant turnarounds in the course of one offseason. With that said, we have some work to do." 
  • The Indians extended utilityman Ryan Raburn yesterday; today, Max Lom posted interview excerpts on MLB.com. Raburn noted that the team aproached him before the All-Star break about a possible extension. GM Chris Antonetti explained that the team liked Raburn as a bounce-back candidate after his woeful 2012 campaign. For his part, manager Terry Francona noted that the club's relatively low payroll means that it must rely on players like Raburn and fellow benchmate Mike Aviles to compete. (Notably, the club also signed Aviles to a multi-year contract with a club option.)
  • Even if Cleveland falls out of the AL Central race, it is worth keeping an eye on the organization in the coming months. Antonetti is believed to have approached other players about extensions, reports Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer
  • Hoynes went on to note that another player who has revived his career with the Indians — lefty Scott Kazmir – has indicated that he might be amenable to a hometown discount. However, Antonetti implied that the sides have not talked about a new deal. 

Indians Extend Ryan Raburn

The Indians have signed utility man Ryan Raburn to a two-year extension with a club option for a third season, the team announced via press release. It's reportedly a $4.85MM extension, and the option year is valued at $3MM with a $100K buyout. RaburnRaburn, a client of CSE, would have been a free agent following the season had he not signed an extension. He will earn $2.25MM in 2014 and $2.5MM in 2015.

Raburn, 32, signed a minor league deal with the Indians back in January that has proved to be one of the best minor league pick-ups of the offseason. He was released by the Tigers back in November, as Detroit clearly wasn't comfortable giving him a raise via arbitration (MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected a $2.1MM salary for Raburn in 2013).

Raburn has been used primarily as a right fielder by the Tribe this season, though he's also seen time in left field and at second base. He's hitting a strong .277/.370/.565 with 13 homers in just 211 plate appearances. Raburn has been particularly strong versus left-handed pitching, hitting southpaws at a .307/.402/.627 clip with five homers.

As shown in MLBTR's Transaction Tracker, this marks the third extension hammered out by Indians GM Chris Antonetti since assuming the role after the 2010 campaign (when longtime GM Mark Shapiro was promoted to club president). Antonetti has also worked out a two-year, $16.5MM deal for Asdrubal Cabrera and a five-year, $21MM deal for Carlos Santana.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported the terms of the contract's guarateed portion as well as the yearly breakdown (Twitter links). MLB.com's Jordan Bastian was the first to report that the option was for $3MM (also via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Indians Designate David Huff For Assignment

The Indians have announced they have designated left-hander David Huff for assignment. Huff was informed on Monday he would not make the team and the Indians were trying to work out a trade because he is out of options. The Indians now have ten days to complete such a deal or they can either release or outright him to the minors.

The 28-year-old was selected in the supplemental round (39th overall) by the Indians in the 2006 draft. He has appeared in 55 games (52 starts) for the Tribe over parts of four seasons, accumulating 285 1/3 innings but posting unsightly ratios including a 5.30 ERA, 5.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. He has averaged 90.5 mph on his fastball with a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate throughout his career. Huff posted a 5.82 ERA this spring in 17 innings (nine games including one start) with 7.9/9K, 2.6 BB/9, and 2.1 HR/9.

The Indians' 40-man roster remains at 39 players because the team selected the contract of Ryan Raburn from Triple-A Columbus.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Minor League Signees Winning Roster Spots

Each year teams parlay minor league signings into big rewards at the Major League level. In recent years, players like Ryan Vogelsong, Jared Burton and some guy named R.A. Dickey have been brought in on minor league deals and wound up signing extensions with their teams due to strong performance. Here's a look at some of the non-roster invitees from this offseason who have recently secured jobs with their teams:

  • Scott Kazmir has won the job as the Indians' fifth starter, Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 tweets. Kazmir's velocity has reported returned and he posted a strong Spring Training (13-to-1 K/BB ratio and a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings).
  • Ryan Raburn has won a spot on the Indians, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). Raburn has hit .359/.479/.795 with four homers in 48 plate appearances this Spring.
  • Erik Bedard is expected to make the Astros' rotation, GM Jeff Luhnow told Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). The Canadian has turned in six scoreless innings in official starts, with nine strikeouts and two walks.
  • Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez seems to have forced his way onto the Twins' 25-man roster, per MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger (on Twitter). Ramirez, who played in the minors for the Twins last season, hit .425/.465/.600 in 43 trips to the plate.
  • On Monday, it was announced that Rick Ankiel, Kameron Loe, Jason Giambi and LaTroy Hawkins (all Article XX(B) free agents) made their respective rosters.  Today, we learned that Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Inge have roster spots with the Pirates.

Indians To Sign Ryan Raburn

The Indians have signed Ryan Raburn to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reported the CSE client was close to a deal with Cleveland earlier today.

Raburn, 31, projected to earn $2.1MM through the arbitration process. However, after a season that saw him post a .171/.226/.254 batting line in 222 plate appearances, that salary seemed excessive to the Tigers. Raburn averaged 15 home runs per season from 2009-11 and owns a career batting line of .256/.311/.430. He played second base and both corner outfield positions in 2012. The Braves and Marlins had interest in Raburn earlier in the offseason.

Indians Interested In Ryan Raburn

SATURDAY: 3:59pm: The Tribe is closing in on a minor league deal with Raburn, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (on Twitter).  The deal is likely to be finalized next week.

THURSDAY, 1:12pm: The Indians have some interest in free agent utility player Ryan Raburn, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). CSE represents Raburn, who was released by the Tigers in November.

Raburn projected to earn $2.1MM through the arbitration process. However, after a season that saw him post a .171/.226/.254 batting line in 222 plate appearances, that salary seemed excessive to the Tigers. Raburn averaged 15 home runs per season from 2009-11 and owns a career batting line of .256/.311/.430. He played second base and both corner outfield positions in 2012. The Braves and Marlins had interest in Raburn earlier in the offseason.

The Indians also have some interest in Ryan Theriot, another right-handed hitting free agent capable of playing multiple positions.

This post was originally published on January 17th and updated on January 19th.

NL East Notes: Wright, Upton, Raburn, Lannan

Zack Greinke turned down a potential trade to the Nationals two years ago when he was a member of the Royals, but now that the Nats are the defending NL East champs and have added Denard Span as their latest upgrade, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal thinks that Greinke (or any free agent) would see Washington as a prime destination.  The Nationals have been mentioned as one of Greinke's top suitors this winter, along with the Dodgers, Angels and Rangers, so there's a possibility the right-hander could yet end up in D.C. two years later.

Here are some items from around the division…

  • David Wright may wait under after the Winter Meetings to decide on the Mets' seven-year, $124MM extension offer, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.  A Mets source speculates that Wright and his representatives may wait due to their unhappiness that negotiations were made public.  Wright and agent Seth Levinson told MLBTR earlier this week that rumors about the contract talks were inaccurate.
  • The Phillies' best offer to B.J. Upton was a five-year, $55MM contract, tweets MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  Upton agreed to a five-year, $75.25MM pact with the Braves yesterday.
  • The Braves and Marlins are two of a half-dozen teams interested in free agent utilityman Ryan Raburn, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark (Twitter link).  The Rays and Rangers are two of the other known teams.
  • The Nationals still have a minor league option remaining on left-hander John Lannan, reports Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider.  Washington could keep Lannan at Triple-A as rotation insurance again, though MLBTR's Tim Dierkes thinks Lannan will be non-tendered rather than earn a projected $5MM in his third year of arbitration eligibility.
  • Shane Victorino "might actually represent the best value on the market," writes David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, though Murphy doesn't think the Phillies will look for a reunion with their former outfielder.  The Phils haven't been linked to Victorino this offseason, though at least seven teams are known to be interested in the Hawaiian.