The Indians have designated Aaron Cunningham for assignment, reports Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer (on Twitter). The move creates room on the roster for the recently acquired Brent Lillibridge.
Cunningham, 26, hit .175/.245/.247 with one homer in 109 plate appearances for the Tribe, including .179/.304/.308v against lefties. The Indians originally acquired him from the Padres back in December.
Well, that’s kind of a no-brainer.
They designated a player with an OPS+ of 40 for a player with an OPS+ of 6. Why either of these hitters is ever in a major league lineup is an open question.
Clearly Lillibridge’s OPS wasn’t the reason for this move. He is able to serve as the defensive back-up at every position except catcher. That gives the Tribe a lot of flexibility to load the bench with bats and relievers. Now Jose Lopez and Jack Hannahan are redundant. I expect one of them to go. Tribe GM Chris Antonetti was overheard saying this current Detroit series will dictate whether the Indians are buyers or sellers.
This was more of my tongue-in-cheek criticism of defense-only players. Also Lillibridge was recently my team’s starting first baseman for multiple games and I still have nightmares.
The Indians have barely ever started Cunningham. He filled in when Choo was hurt and was experimented once or twice against left handed pitching. His primary role was as a defensive replacement. Now, they have a guy who can not only play the outfield, but the infield. I don’t know if I buy the concept of defensive replacement in general – Cunningham contributed negative WAR to the team, but most of that may have come during the stretch when he had to start since there was no other choice. But Manny Acta likes the concept of a defensive replacement and Lillibridge lets him do that better than Cunningham did.
Dodgers should go after Shane Victorino or Hunter Pence. I think I would prefer either one, but I like Hunter Pence. I say trade Chris Reed, Joc Pederson, O’Koyea Dickson to the Phillies for Pence