The Indians have designated first baseman Jake Bauers for assignment, the team announced. Right-hander Eli Morgan has also been optioned to Triple-A, while first baseman Bobby Bradley has been called up to Cleveland’s roster and righty Blake Parker has had his contract selected.
Today’s news could mark the end of Bauers’ star-crossed tenure in Cleveland. A top-100 prospect during his time in the Rays’ farm system, Bauers came to the Tribe as part of a major three-team swap involving the Rays and Mariners in December 2018. The deal brought Carlos Santana back to Cleveland as veteran reinforcement for the Indians’ lineup, and Bauers was supposed to be a young building block, though he hasn’t delivered on that promise.
Over 160 games and 536 plate appearances with the Tribe, Bauers has hit only .218/.305/.352 with 14 home runs, delivering below replacement-level (-0.8 fWAR) production. This playing time came during the 2019 and 2021 seasons, as Bauers was at Cleveland’s alternate training site in 2020 but never received a call-up to the big league club. Bauers is out of options, so it’s possible another team might make a waiver claim on a player who is still only 25 and not that far removed from his prospect heyday.
With Bauers struggling so mightily, Tribe fans have spent pretty much all season wondering why Bradley wasn’t being given a shot on the MLB roster. Bradley had a big Spring Training but has not hit overly well (aside from the power department) at Triple-A this season, with a .196/.266/.485 slash line and nine homers in 109 PA.
Bradley doesn’t bring much versatility as a first base-only player, but with the Indians in desperate need of some extra offense, the decision was finally made to part ways with Bauers and give Bradley another opportunity in the Show. Bradley received some top-100 prospect attention himself prior to the 2016-17 seasons, and he has hit .251/.339/.503 with 156 homers in 2865 minor league plate appearances since being selected in the third round of the 2014 draft. Bradley’s only MLB exposure came in 2019, when he posted a .600 OPS over 49 PA.
Parker signed a minor league deal with the Indians in the offseason, and with just one official appearance, Parker will make it seven different teams over parts of nine MLB seasons. The right-hander (who turns 36 on June 19) most recently pitched for the Phillies in 2020, recording a 2.81 ERA and a huge 36.2% strikeout rate over 16 innings, albeit with an also-hefty 13% walk rate. Parker has maintained a solid 27.7% strikeout rate over his career, though home runs have been a persistent issue for the veteran.