The Indians announced Tuesday that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Mike Freeman from Triple-A Columbus and optioned fellow infielder Eric Stamets to Triple-A Columbus in his place. A corresponding 40-man move wasn’t required, as Cleveland had only 39 players on its 40-man.
Freeman, 31, has seen sparse action in the Majors in each of the past three seasons (including one lone plate appearance with the Cubs in 2018), hitting a combined .134/.211/.207 across 91 plate appearances. Lackluster as that small-sample output may be, Freeman is an accomplished Triple-A hitter, as evidenced by a lifetime .305/.372/.418 slash through 2030 PAs at that level. While he’s light on power, Freeman has consistently managed to hit for average and get on base at the top minor league level. He’s walked in 9.2 percent of those 2030 PAs in Triple-A and kept his strikeout rate to a relatively low 16.8 percent.
Track record aside, Freeman needn’t do much to give the Indians at least a modest uptick in offensive production. The 27-year-old Stamets made his big league debut on Opening Day this season and has seen regular work in 15 games. However, he’s collected just two hits and five walks in 48 trips to the plate, resulting in a disheartening .049/.149/.073 slash in his first look at MLB pitching. As a glove-first player, there’s perhaps hope that Stamets could eventually fill a utility spot with the organization, but he looked decidedly overmatched in trying to step into some enormous shoes with Francisco Lindor on the shelf.
Thankfully for Cleveland fans, there’s hope on the horizon with regard to Lindor; the star shortstop embarked on a Triple-A rehab assignment tonight.