The Indians announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Carlos Frias from the Dodgers in exchange for cash and designated infielder/outfielder Richie Shaffer for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
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The 27-year-old Frias spent the bulk of the 2016 season with Los Angeles’ Triple-A affiliate after logging significant innings for the Dodgers in 2015, when he posted a 4.06 ERA in 77 2/3 innings. Frias exhibited a strong ground-ball rate with the 2015 Dodgers (55.1 percent) but averaged just five strikeouts per nine innings pitched against three walks over that same span. Metrics such as FIP, xFIP and SIERA all pegged him for an ERA closer to the mid-4.00s due to his pedestrian walk rate and lack of missed bats.
Frias did start 13 games for the Dodgers that season, though, so he’ll give the Indians some depth either in the rotation or in the bullpen. And he has a minor league option remaining as well, so Cleveland can send him to the minors at the end of Spring Training even if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.
The 25-year-old Shaffer was recently claimed off waivers from the Reds, with minor league slugger Jesus Aguilar losing his roster spot in Cleveland to facilitate that claim. A former first-round pick, Shaffer spent parts of the past two seasons with the Rays (who drafted him 25th overall in 2012) but posted a lackluster .213/.310/.410 in 142 Major League plate appearances. In 188 Triple-A games (788 plate appearances), however, Shaffer has batted .243/.338/.445 with 30 home runs.
Shaffer has experience at both infield corners and both outfield corners, though the bulk of his work in the minors has come at third base. Like Frias, Shaffer can still be optioned to the minors without first being exposed to outright waivers, so he could latch on with his sixth organization of the winter. The Indians, though, had one of the lowest waiver priorities in the league and were still able to claim him just four days ago, so perhaps they’ll be able to slip him through waivers and retain him without dedicating a 40-man roster spot.