2:36pm: Stammen’s contract comes with a $1MM base salary and also includes an additional $2MM worth of incentives, according to Rosenthal (Twitter link). Stammen’s deal also allows him to opt out and become a free agent if he hasn’t been added to the Major League roster by March 25.
1:04pm: The Indians announced, via Twitter, that they have indeed signed Stammen to a minor league contract that contains an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
9:07am: The Indians are trying to finalize a deal with right-hander Craig Stammen today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the contract would be a minor league deal, if finalized, although nothing is done just yet. HometownSportsHeroes.net first connected the two sides earlier today (Twitter link).
Stammen, 31, missed nearly the entire 2015 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right flexor tendon back in April. Stammen was non-tendered by the Nationals in December, though he’s said to be fully recovered from his operation (as MLBTR’s Zach Links reported later that same month). Stammen has more than five years of Major League service time, so if he makes the team, he’ll qualify as a free agent following the 2016 campaign.
Assuming good health, Stammen would be a nice add for the Indians. Prior to his surgery, the former 12th-round pick logged a 2.85 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 50.8 percent ground-ball rate in 253 innings from 2011-14. While not the hardest-throwing of relievers, Stammen averaged 91.5 mph on his fastball in that time and managed to keep both left- and right-handed hitters in check (though lefties did, unsurprisingly, have a bit more success against him). He was often used in a multi-inning role with the Nats — as evidenced by the fact that those 253 innings came across a span of 170 games — and could give the Indians another option in that role should he make the club.
Stammen will be entering a somewhat crowded bullpen mix heading into Spring Training. Cody Allen is locked in as Cleveland’s closer, of course, and righties Bryan Shaw, Zach McAllister and Jeff Manship all enjoyed strong seasons in 2015 as well. Right-handers Shawn Armstrong, Austin Adams and Dan Otero represent options that are currently on the 40-man roster, with Giovanni Soto and Kyle Crockett serving as left-handed options on the 40-man. Additionally, there will be a number of veterans in camp on non-roster invites, including right-handera Joba Chamberlain and Felipe Paulino as well as lefties Ross Detwiler (Stammen’s former teammate in Washington), Tom Gorzelanny and Joe Thatcher.