MLB Trade Rumors » » Cleveland Indians Fri, 19 Jan 2018 06:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases Sat, 13 Jan 2018 00:02:01 +0000 We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:00:23 +0000 The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salarie

American League West

  • The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
  • The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
  • The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
  • Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal,’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.

American League Central

  • New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
  • The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile,’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
  • The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar,’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
  • Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
  • Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility.’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.

American League East

  • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
  • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
  • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection),’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
  • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
Indians, Zach McAllister Avoid Arbitration Fri, 12 Jan 2018 05:12:47 +0000
  • Righty Zach McAllister will receive $2.45MM from the Indians, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports on Twitter. Entering his third and final year of eligibility, the 30-year-old had projected at a $2.4MM rate, so he’s coming in right at expectations. McAllister ran a 2.61 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 last year over 62 innings, representing his best full season of work. He has been a steady performer since moving into a full-time relief role in 2015.
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    Indians Still Seeking Bullpen Help, Right-Handed Bat Fri, 12 Jan 2018 05:02:52 +0000
  • Seeking value will no doubt still drive Chicago, but it’s an imperative for the Indians. Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer names 15 free agents who might represent highly affordable targets for the Cleveland organization. Buttressing the relief corps and adding a righty bat seem to be the top priorities, Hoynes notes.
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    Mets “Nearly” Struck Trade With Indians For Jason Kipnis Thu, 11 Jan 2018 15:53:19 +0000 The Mets and Indians very nearly pulled off a deal that would have sent Jason Kipnis to New York, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. Upper management — Heyman hints on the Mets side — ended up scuttling a deal that seemed to be in place.

    Kipnis was widely rumored to be on New York’s radar last month. For the Mets, the veteran would have plugged a hole at second base. And for the Indians, the considerations were mostly financial, as Kipnis is due $30.5MM on his deal (covering two more seasons along with a buyout on a 2020 option).

    It was money, it seems, that caused the hang-up here. While the prospect cost was not prohibitive, Heyman says that “Mets higher-ups didn’t see Kipnis as good value.” Whether Cleveland would have paid down any portion of the remaining obligations in the proposed agreement is not known.

    At this point, it would appear that the odds of talks re-opening are low. The Mets just landed free agent slugger Jay Bruce in a move that will occupy a significant portion of their remaining payroll availability. On the Indians’ side, moving the Kipnis contract likely would have helped facilitate their pursuit of Carlos Santana, but he reportedly agreed to terms with the Phillies on December 15th — right after the Mets/Kipnis talk heated up and before it died down.

    In any event, the Mets do still need a second baseman — or, perhaps, a third baseman who’d bump Asdrubal Cabrera over to second. As Mike Puma of the New York Post wrote this morning, it seems the club still has a variety of open-market possibilities to consider in the infield. Todd Frazier, Howie Kendrick, Neil Walker, and Jose Reyes are evidently still on the team’s radar, while other trade options are presumably still on the table. (Puma does suggest that free agent Mike Moustakas and trade candidate Starlin Castro are not seen as viable options.)

    For the Indians, meanwhile, the latest indication is that the team will utilize Kipnis at his native position of second base after having bumped him to the outfield late last year. Presumably he could still be moved in the right deal, but the organization may also mostly be preparing to hang on and hope he can return to form. While Kipnis limped to a .232/.291/.414 batting line in an injury-limited 2017 season, he carried a composite .289/.357/.460 line over the prior two seasons and has typically graded as a quality defender.

    Indians, Cody Allen Avoid Arbitration Thu, 11 Jan 2018 02:56:20 +0000 The Indians have avoided arbitration with closer Cody Allen by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $10.575MM, as Tom Withers of the Associated Press was first to report (via Twitter). Allen, a client of Meister Sports Management, had a projected arbitration salary of $10.8MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

    Allen, 29, will take home a raise of more than $3MM over last season’s $7.35MM salary. The raise was well-deserved, as Allen turned in his fifth consecutive season with a sub-3.00 ERA out of the Cleveland bullpen. Since taking over as Cleveland’s closer in 2014, Allen has pitched to an outstanding 2.62 ERA with 12.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a total of 120 saves. Allen has averaged better than 70 appearances per season and 53 games finished per year in that time, and he’s been even better in the postseason, where he owns a minuscule 0.47 ERA with a ridiculous 33-to-8 K/BB ratio in 19 1/3 innings.

    This past season, Allen worked to a 2.94 ERA and averaged 12.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9 with a 33.5 percent grounder rate and a fastball that averaged 94.3 mph. This will be his final trip through the arbitration process, as Allen is poised to hit the open market for the first time following the 2018 season, adding to an impressive overall crop of free agents. He’ll join Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Kelvin Herrera on what should be a strong market for top-end relievers.

    With Allen’s case now resolved, the Indians have four remaining cases, as can be seen in MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker. Trevor Bauer, Lonnie Chisenhall, Danny Salazar and Zach McAllister are the Indians’ remaining arb-eligibles that have yet to agree to terms on a contract for the upcoming season.

    Indians Will Reportedly Move Jason Kipnis Back To Second Base Sat, 06 Jan 2018 20:20:48 +0000 There’s been plenty of speculation about what position Jason Kipnis will play next season (and what team he’ll be playing it for), but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Indians plan to move him back to second base. The move will also push 2017 AL MVP finalist Jose Ramirez back to third base, where he earned an All-Star nod last season.

    Kipnis battled injuries through most of last year and didn’t get much going offensively even when he was on the field, as evidenced by his .232/.291/.414 batting line and 82 wRC+. When Kip returned from a DL stint in mid-September (his third of the season), Ramirez’ fantastic defensive play had him firmly entrenched at Kipnis’ natural position. In order to get his bat in the lineup, the Indians deployed Kipnis in center field to replace Bradley Zimmer, who was out for the season with a hand injury.

    With Zimmer projected to return to health well before spring training, and Ramirez offering a fantastic up-the-middle defensive combo with All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, Kipnis seemed to be lacking a clear role on the team, such to the point that over 50% of MLBTR readers thought that the Tribe ought to trade him during the offseason. Trade rumors never gained much momentum, however. The Mets were weakly connected to Kipnis at one point, but there was always healthy amount of skepticism over whether the two teams could actually reach an agreement.

    For the time being, it seems that the Indians will solve a seemingly complex issue with the simplest solution. After all, Kipnis is only a year removed from consecutive 5-WAR seasons. Notably, those seasons were a strong rebound from Kipnis’ last subpar campaign in 2014, so there’s plenty of reason to believe he’ll be able to bounce back again in his age 31 season. In any event, banking on better offensive production from Kipnis seems like a better option than relying on an offensive breakout from Yandy Diaz or Giovanny Urshela at third base, or hoping that top prospect Francisco Mejia can successfully shift to the hot corner with limited experience.

    While we can’t rule anything out with certainty, this news seems to take Kipnis off the trading block. Teams looking for second base help must turn to trade market options such as Starlin Castro or Cesar Hernandez or else explore a thin free agent market at the position, which includes Neil Walker, Eduardo Nunez and Howie Kendrick. The news also increases the already-strong likelihood that Mejia will open the season in the minor leagues.

    Indians Open To Trading Danny Salazar Thu, 04 Jan 2018 23:43:01 +0000
  • The Indians are “open” to moving right-hander Danny Salazar, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in his latest notes column (subscription required and strongly recommended). Salazar, 28 next week, has missed time in each of the past two seasons owing to shoulder and elbow injuries. When healthy, the flamethrowing righty has shown the ability to overpower hitters, as evidenced by a career 10.5 K/9 mark and 12.6 percent swinging-strike rate. Salazar, who has two years of club control remaining, comes with a projected arbitration salary of $5.2MM for the 2018 campaign (via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) and would be arb-eligible once more next winter. Cleveland doesn’t sound to be shopping him by any means, but the Tribe does have some enviable pitching depth and could stomach the loss if a Salazar trade helped the MLB roster in other ways.
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    Indians Sign Robert Zarate To Minors Deal Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:46:34 +0000
  • The Indians announced on Thursday that they’ve signed left-hander Robert Zarate to a minor league deal and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Zarate, 31 next month, didn’t pitch in 2016 or 2017 due to a spring elbow injury in ’16 that ultimately required Tommy John surgery. Zarate has had a unique career, spending more time pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League than he has with MLB affiliates in his big league career. His 2015 campaign produced a 2.90 ERA with a 49-to-15 K/BB ratio and a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate in 40 1/3 with the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate, however. Zarate has never reached the big league level in his career.
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    Indians Likely Will Not Pursue Significant Free Agents Sat, 30 Dec 2017 06:10:04 +0000
  • While the Indians have pushed their payroll upwards in recent years, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon-Journal writes that the period of growth seems to be at an end. Despite attempting to re-sign Carlos Santana, it seems unlikely the organization will pursue any further major free agents after landing Yonder Alonso on a fairly modest two-year deal. Cleveland’s front office is obviously still looking to improve in the near-term, but sustainability is a key consideration as well.
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    Tribe Faces Difficulties In Extending Allen, Miller Fri, 29 Dec 2017 04:39:44 +0000
  • The Indians will face a tall order in trying to extend Cody Allen or Andrew Miller before either reliever hits free agency next winter,’s Jordan Bastian writes as part of a reader mailbag.  Allen is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility, while Miller is finishing up the four-year, $36MM deal he originally signed with the Yankees in December 2014.  Given the large contracts that relievers have been landing this offseason, a smaller-payroll team like Cleveland doesn’t seem like a candidate to re-sign either pitcher, nor to spend the big money it would take to get Allen or Miller to forego the open market and ink an extension.
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    Hoynes On Lindor Extension Possibilities, Merritt's Future Wed, 27 Dec 2017 14:51:28 +0000
  • In his latest inbox column, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tackles a number of roster-focused questions pertaining to the Indians. Asked about the possibility of another run at extending Francisco Lindor, Hoynes suggests that over the course of Lindor’s remaining four years of control, the Indians will almost certainly make multiple attempts to extend their control over the young superstar. However, the fact that Lindor already rejected a nine-figure extension offer from Cleveland so early in his career could indicate that he’s likelier to test free agency when he is eligible. Hoynes also notes that left-hander and 2016 postseason hero Ryan Merritt will head to Spring Training out of minor league options and without a clear spot in the rotation. That could make Merritt available in trade (either this winter or in Spring Training) or point to a bullpen role — at least in 2018.
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    Indians Notes: Santana, Spending, Alonso, Kipnis Sat, 23 Dec 2017 18:33:39 +0000 Indians GM Chris Antonetti told reporters today that the club was in on Carlos Santana until the very end (hat tip to Jordan Bastian of It seemed that Santana’s reps kept the Tribe informed through the entirety of Santana’s free agency, but in the end, things just didn’t work out for Cleveland. This news comes as another sign that Santana wanted to remain with the Indians if possible; the first baseman also wrote an emotional goodbye letter to Tribe fans in which he stated, “I cried once it sunk in that I would no longer be suiting up for and living in the City of Cleveland.” Ultimately, he signed a three-year, $60MM contract with the Phillies. Santana came to Cleveland in the Casey Blake trade prior to the 2008 trade deadline. Though the Dominican Republic native came up as a catcher through the minors, his most recent years have been spent as a first baseman. He hit .249/.365/.449 during his time with the Indians, and provided them with 23 fWAR. The club will now hope that new signee Yonder Alonso can replace his fantastic patience in their lineup.

    More from the Indians’ camp on the day the Alonso signing was announced…

    • Bastian also tweeted some words from Antonetti about the club’s spending plans for the remainder of the offseason. It seems as though the Alonso signing may be the Tribe’s most significant of the winter, though they’ll reportedly continue to explore their options. “We’ll continue to be active,” the Indians GM told reporters. “We had a certain amount of flexibility heading into the offseason that we had to use judicially, and this will represent the vast bulk of that flexibility. The cost of retaining the nucleus of our team is more expensive.” Indeed, the Indians have a number of expensive arbitration-eligible players. MLBTR projects that Trevor Bauer, Lonnie Chisenhall, Danny Salazar and Cody Allen alone will cost the club nearly $30MM, and there are still smaller salaries to account for within their arb-eligible group.
    • Antonetti isn’t worried about Alonso’s ability to sustain a high level of production, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets. The Indians GM cites his control of the strike zone and escalating average exit velocity across the past three seasons as evidence of a “purposeful adjustment”. It’s worth noting that there’s a healthy amount of skepticism in the industry over whether the former top prospect’s .266/.365/.501 season was a true breakout or a career year. As Evan Davis of FanRag Sports writes in a detailed piece, there’s reason to believe certain adjustments could yield sustainable results over the long-term, including a 9.1-degree spike in average launch angle that led to a .385 xwOBA in the season’s first half. However, Davis also points out that his second half was far more pedestrian; Alonso’s xwOBA and wRC+ both plummeted to levels more indicative of his previous self.
    • One of the remaining items on Antonetti’s docket is to speak with Jason Kipnis about a position plan, Bastian says in yet another tweet. Antonetti told reporters that it’s possible Kipnis could be a contingency plan for Michael Brantley in left field if the two-time All-Star isn’t ready for Opening Day. As Anthony DiComo of notes, Antonetti’s words make it seem all the more likely that Kipnis will open the 2018 season in an Indians uniform.
    Indians Sign Yonder Alonso Sat, 23 Dec 2017 16:32:05 +0000 Dec. 23, 10:32am: Jordan Bastian of provides some additional details on Alonso’s 2020 option. It’s reportedly a $9MM vesting option that vests following a successful physical after 2019, on the added condition that he makes 550 trips to the plate during the 2019 season, or accumulates 1,100 PA combined across the 2018-2019 campaigns. In line with previous reports, the option becomes a $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout if the vesting criteria aren’t met.

    9:32am: The Indians have officially announced the signing.

    Dec. 21:’s Mark Feinsand tweets that Alonso will earn $7MM in 2018 and $8MM in 2019. The vesting/club option comes with a $1MM buyout.

    Dec. 20, 8:55pm: It’s a two-year deal that comes with a $16MM guarantee, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). There’s also an $8MM vesting option for a third season.

    8:38pm: The Indians have agreed to a deal with free-agent first baseman Yonder Alonso, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (via Twitter). Alonso is a client of MVP Sports.

    Yonder Alonso | Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Alonso, 31 in April, will step into the void that was created when longtime Indians first baseman Carlos Santana signed a three-year, $60MM contract with the Phillies. The former first-round pick and top prospect just wrapped up a career year in which he slashed .266/.365/.501 with a personal-best 28 home runs — shattering his previous highwater mark of nine long balls in a season. That quality season landed him 22nd on MLBTR’s list of the top 50 free agents, with a prediction of a two-year, $22MM contract.

    Alonso was, for much of the 2017 season, the poster boy for the “fly-ball revolution,” as he made a concerted effort to lift the ball and experienced great success with that newfound approach in the season’s first half. Through 298 plate appearances prior to the All-Star break, Alonso sported a 48.7 percent fly-ball rate and batted a hefty .275/.372/.562 despite playing his home games in Oakland’s cavernous Coliseum. Alonso’s fly-ball rate fell to 36.1 percent in a second half that was far more pedestrian, though his post-break output of .254/.354/.420 was still generally solid.

    Overall, Alonso’s average exit velocity (89.2 mph) was comfortably among the top quarter of hitters in the league (min. 100 batted ball events), and his 36 percent hard-contact rate ranked 47th among 144 qualified MLB hitters. That uptick in power for Alonso came at the cost of his previously excellent contact skills, as he whiffed in a career-worst 22.6 percent of his plate appearances this past season (though that mark comes in barely north of the league average 21.2 percent for non-pitchers). Even if there’s some regression in terms of his power, Alonso has long shown a penchant for getting on base, with a career walk rate just under 10 percent — including a strong 13.1 percent walk rate in 2017.

    Of course, while Alonso enjoyed a terrific overall year at the plate in ’17, he’s not without his warts. His strong offensive production was in some part due to the fact that both the A’s and Mariners shielded him from facing left-handed pitching; Alonso absolutely clobbered righties (.283/.384/.519) but struggled to hit for average and get on base against fellow lefties, as evidenced by a .181/.263/.417 slash in just 72 plate appearances. In his career as a whole, Alonso has batted just .234/.303/.349 against same-handed opponents.

    [Related: Updated Cleveland Indians depth chart]

    On the plus side for Cleveland, they have a ready-made platoon partner in the form of Edwin Encarnacion. While Encarnacion will obviously be in the lineup on a regular basis as the team’s DH, he can also shift to first base on days when the Indians face a left-handed starter, should skipper Terry Francona ultimately decide to keep Alonso out of the lineup for those matchups. That’d free the DH slot to keep other regulars fresh, or it could allow the Indians to sign a right-handed-hitting outfielder/first baseman to occupy a reserve role on the bench.

    Cleveland currently has righty bats Brandon Guyer, Erik Gonzalez and Giovanny Urshela ticketed for bench spots, though president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, GM Mike Chernoff and the rest of the staff may yet look to augment the team’s stock of reserve options.

    As far as his defense is concerned, Alonso doesn’t stack up to the stellar work that Santana provided in 2017. Alonso rated as an above-average defender at first base per both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating each season of his career up until the 2016 campaign. Both metrics pegged him slightly below average in ’16, and while UZR had him only slightly below average again in 2017 (-2.8), DRS graded him out at -9.

    Alonso becomes the fourth first baseman to come off the board in the past week — the latest domino in a market for position players that is slowly beginning to pick up after a largely stagnant offseason. Beyond the agreements for Alonso and Santana, the Red Sox announced yesterday that they’ve re-signed Mitch Moreland on a two-year deal, while the Nationals earlier today reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Matt Adams. With that group now off the board, Eric Hosmer, Logan Morrison and Lucas Duda are the most notable names remaining on the free-agent market for first basemen.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    AL Notes: Gordon, Segura, Twins, Roberto Perez Sat, 23 Dec 2017 16:15:11 +0000 New Mariners center fielder Dee Gordon doesn’t like what’s happening in Miami, Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reports. While his words don’t stir up controversy quite to the level of Giancarlo Stanton’s upon the slugger’s own exit from Miami, Gordon was very candid with his feelings about the direction of the Marlins’ franchise. “It’s terrible,” Gordon said, via Healey. “It’s almost — I’m not even going to say almost. It’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing. I don’t want to bash anyone, but what’s happened is not good.” The former Marlins second baseman expressed a distaste for the franchise’s trades of Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and himself, accusing the team of getting rid of them because of payroll obligations the Marlins’ new ownership “can’t take care of.” When asked what he thinks the club should do with Christian Yelich, Gordon said, “I think you have to let the dude go win.” Under new ownership, or course, the Marlins have expressed a desire to change the way the team operates financially in order to create sustainable success for the long-term. While the strategy has been met with skepticism by many (including colorful agent Scott Boras), others side with Derek Jeter and co., believing that the new owners aren’t morally obligated to remain bound to the financial decisions of the old regime.

    More from around baseball’s American League during the holiday season…

    • In other Mariners news, shortstop Jean Segura says he was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint by corrupt police in the Dominican Republic. Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports delves into the details of incident, which Segura made public via a post on his Instagram account. The photo of the post appears to show a number of DICAN officers, one of whom is “visibly armed,” in Townsend’s words. The Dominican Republic National Police have since announced the appointment of a commission to investigate the incident. Segura followed up a breakout 5-WAR 2016 campaign with the Diamondbacks by hitting .300/.349/.427 across 566 plate appearances in 2017.
    • The Twins “hope to get a meeting soon with Darvish,” Darren Wolfson of KSTP reports in a tweet. While the prospect of a meeting certainly doesn’t imply a serious pursuit of the former Rangers ace (indeed, Wolfson adds that there’s no indication the club has made a formal offer), a potential pursuit of Darvish by Minnesota is intriguing. Any contract large enough to lure him in would need to nearly triple the club’s highest-ever guarantee given to a pitcher ($55MM to Ervin Santana). However, it’s no secret that the Twins are in dire need of pitching if they plan to compete this offseason, and as MLBTR’s Steve Adams notes, the club is definitely in a position to spend this offseason.
    • Roberto Perez, backup catcher for the Indians, is focused on getting his mother a new home. A story by Jordan Bastian of details Perez’ desire to sit down with his mom Lilliam Martinez this holiday season and discuss plans to build a new house to replace the one that was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria. Bastian’s piece provides some insight into the emotions of Perez since the storm hit; the piece is well worth a read for fans looking to learn more about how Puerto Rico has been affected since landfall by the Class 5 storm. The 29-year-old Perez made his MLB debut with the Indians back in 2014. He signed a four-year, $9MM extension last spring following three excellent defensive seasons with the Tribe.
    Minor MLB Transactions: 12/21/17 Thu, 21 Dec 2017 17:50:40 +0000 We’ll cover the day’s minor moves in this post:

    • The Cubs have re-signed catcher Taylor Davis, MLBTR has learned. The 28-year-old was non-tendered after a season in which he received his first MLB call-up, staying long enough to pick up his first few base knocks but not to put down a meaningful track record. Davis strode to the Triple-A plate 406 times in 2017, producing a .297/.357/.429 batting line with six home runs. Notably, he continued to exhibit strong plate discipline and contact ability, striking out just 45 times while drawing 37 walks.

    Earlier Updates

    • Indians have agreed to a deal with right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). The 27-year-old struggled badly in his ten MLB appearances last year with the Reds, working to a 8.10 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 while serving up eight long balls in 36 2/3 innings. He did generate a useful 11.8% swinging-strike rate, though, and has typically drawn a fair number of grounders in the minors.
    • The Nationals reached a minor-league pact with righty Chris Smith, MLBTR’s Steve Adams tweets. He gets an invitation to participate on the majors side of camp next spring. Smith, 29, got a brief taste of the majors last year with the Blue Jays, showing a 93.9 mph average four-seamer. He spent most of the year at Triple-A, where he worked to a 5.40 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9, but Smith has recorded much higher strikeout rates in the upper minors in the past.
    • Lefty Hunter Cervenka was outrighted to Triple-A by the Marlins after clearing waivers. He had been removed from the 40-man roster recently as the organization continues to tweak its mix of MLB assets. Cervenka spent most of 2017 at the Triple-A level, where he pitched to a 4.58 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9. That hefty walk rate has long been a problem for Cervenka, who’ll soon turn 28.
    • The Tigers announced a series of minors signings today. Lefty Will Lamb, infielder Ronny Rodriguez, and outfielders Jason Krizan and Kenny Wilson are all joining the Detroit organization, with Krizan and Rodriguez also taking spring invites. Lamb, 27, has struggled to a 6.06 ERA in 120 1/3 career Triple-A frames, but owns a 2.28 ERA in 90 2/3 innings at the penultimate level of the minors. The 25-year-old Rodriguez brings some infield versatility and pop to the table; he hit .291/.324/.454 with 17 home runs in 483 plate appearances last year at the Indians’ top affiliate. Krizan, 28, will return for his eighth year in the Detroit system; in 2017, he hit .281/.351/.417 in 480 upper-minors plate appearances. Wilson, who’ll soon turn 28 as well, is a speed-and-defense type who has not yet hit enough to earn his way into the big leagues.
    Indians Have Reached Out To Yonder Alonso Wed, 20 Dec 2017 23:56:39 +0000
  • The Indians are looking at a variety of possibilities now that Carlos Santana has moved on. Per’s Jordan Bastian, via Twitter, the club has reached out to free agent Yonder Alonso, who’s one of a few open-market names that has now been linked to Cleveland. The club could yet pursue a rather wide variety of players given the flexibility of some of its internal pieces. It still appears wise to expect that achieving value — rather than just targeting specific players — will be the driving force given the club’s payroll constraints.
  • ]]>
    Indians Release Leo Campos To Pursue Opportunity In Japan Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:07:21 +0000 The Indians announced that they have released righty Leonel Campos to allow him to pursue an opportunity in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Campos will join the Hiroshima Carp.

    It was less than a month ago that Campos signed a minors deal to join the Cleveland organization. He’d likely have taken up residence at Triple-A, but might also have had a shot at earning a MLB pen job with a big showing in camp. Instead, Campos will sign on to a sure payday to play the game at the top level in Asia.

    Campos, 30, has seen time in each of the past four MLB seasons but has compiled only 43 2/3 total frames. He carries a 4.74 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9 in that span. Campos can obviously generate some swings and misses — he got whiffs at an eye-popping 20.4% rate across 13 2/3 innings in 2017 — and has had success in the upper minors, but control problems have continued to hold him back.

    Indians Unlikely To Spend Heavily At First Base Wed, 20 Dec 2017 04:24:16 +0000
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Indians aren’t operating under the same capacity that they did last offseason when they surprised everyone by signing Edwin Encarnacion (Twitter links). Cleveland is looking at lower-profile first base options to replace Carlos Santana, with Crasnick listing the likes of Lucas Duda, Matt Adams, Logan Morrison and Yonder Alonso as possibilities rather than Eric Hosmer. (Speculatively, I’d imagine that even Morrison and Alonso could be beyond Cleveland’s comfort zone.) Dealing Jason Kipnis and the remaining $30.5MM on his contract (2018-19) would open up some additional funds for the team to reallocate to a first baseman or additional bullpen help, Crasnick notes.
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    Market Notes: Red Sox, Hosmer, Royals, Cards, Donaldson, Mets, Kipnis, A-Gon Tue, 19 Dec 2017 04:26:17 +0000 Signing Mitch Moreland doesn’t take the Red Sox out of the market for hitting, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told reporters including Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. And adding another stick wouldn’t necessarily mean trading away from the current roster to create space, the club’s top baseball decisionmaker added. But it surely does not seem that Boston will sign another first baseman; rather, a DH/corner outfield bat seems the likeliest possibility.

    • Boston’s decision seems to take it out of the market for Eric Hosmer, which has raised some eyebrows in Royals country. As Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes, there are still many barriers remaining to a return to Kansas City for Hosmer, including the possibility that agent Scott Boras will find a way to bring some new suitors into the picture. But keeping Hosmer in Royals blue for the future now seems more plausible than might have been expected when the organization began giving indication it would rebuild. Of course, even if that comes to pass, the general rebuilding plan will remain, the Star’s Rustin Dodd notes on Twitter.
    • The Cardinals appear to be showing more interest in veteran Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson than in Manny Machado of the Orioles, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Nightengale posits that the club may believe it’s better situated to pursue a long-term deal with Donaldson — who’s much older than Machado, though both will hit the open market at the same time — which would increase his appeal. Of course, it’s important to bear in mind there’s still no real indication that Toronto will move Donaldson and the St. Louis front office has suggested recently that it’s not all that keen on giving up significant assets for a rental.
    • While there has been some chatter recently connecting the Mets to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post says that possibility is not as likely as it has come to seem. Especially with Carlos Santana moving on, says Davidoff, the Indians are not particularly inclined to part with Kipnis’s contract for a marginal return. New York is trying to thread the needle in finding an upgrade at the position, with the organization concerned with giving up too much in salary or prospect value to make a deal. As the Post’s Joel Sherman writes, the Mets’ lack of top-end, marketable pre-MLB talent has posed an under-appreciated barrier to its winter activity.
    • The Mets, of course, are also eyeing the addition of another option at the first base position. New York had some interest in Moreland, per the above-cited Cafardo piece. And as James Wagner of the New York Times tweets, the Mets intend at least to take a look at the newest entrant onto the open market: Adrian Gonzalez. The veteran will be looking to bounce back after a rough, injury-plagued 2017 season, though he could conceivably bring some upside at a very appealing price.
    Mets Rumors: Bruce, Kipnis, Tribe Mon, 18 Dec 2017 04:14:16 +0000 The latest from Citi Field…

    • The Mets have been linked to a possible reunion with Jay Bruce all offseason, and a Mets source tells Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that the free agent is looking for a four-year contract.  This represents a shift in Bruce’s asking price, as he and his representatives began the offseason in search of a five-year pact worth $80-$90MM and reportedly were still sticking to that demand at the start of December.  Of course, starting with a high number is a common tactic in any negotiation, so it isn’t surprising that Bruce has limited his demand, particularly since the free agent market as a whole has yet to truly kick into gear.  Even four years may be too long for the Mets’ liking — while Bruce would be a valuable contributor at first base or in a corner outfield spot, New York has Michael Conforto (once he recovers from shoulder surgery) and rookie Dominic Smith slated for those spots over the long term.  The Rockies, Blue Jays, and Mariners have also been linked to Bruce at various points over the winter, though Seattle’s acquisitions of Ryon Healy and Dee Gordon may have lessened their desire for Bruce’s services.
    • A source “expressed skepticism” to Newsday’s Marc Carig (Twitter links) that the Mets and Indians would be able to work out a deal involving second baseman Jason Kipnis.  New York has been connected to a wide array of players as it tries to address its hole at the keystone, though with other trade avenues seemingly closing up, it was looking like Kipnis could be the Mets’ top option.  With the Mets also apparently open to taking on salary instead of moving prospects in trades, Kipnis seemed like an even clearer target; one rival executive described Kipnis as one of “the most attainable” second basemen left on the market given that the Tribe seems eager to get his $30.5MM in remaining salary off their books.
    Indians Agree To Minor League Deal With Melvin Upton Jr. Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:23:11 +0000 The Indians have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran outfielder Melvin Upton Jr., reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (on Twitter). Upton has already passed his physical, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, adding that the deal comes with a $1.5MM base salary in the Majors. Upton is represented by Reynolds Sports Management.

    Upton, 33, scarcely played in 2017 after being released by the Blue Jays at the end of Spring Training. He latched on with the Giants on a minor league deal shortly thereafter but quickly suffered a torn ligament in his thumb that required surgical repair. Upton returned to action in August but requested and received his release that month.

    Overall, Upton appeared in just 12 Triple-A games last season, hitting .244/.306/.333 in a minuscule sample of 49 plate appearances. Though his five-year, $72.25MM contract was a notorious misstep for the Braves, Upton did show some signs of life in the late stages of that deal after he’d been passed off onto the Padres. In 602 plate appearances with San Diego fro 2015-16, Upton slashed a respectable .257/.313/.435 (103 OPS+) with 21 homers and 29 stolen bases. His production cratered again following a trade to the Blue Jays, however (.196/.261/.318 in 165 PAs to close out the 2016 campaign).

    The Indians will obviously hope that Upton can more closely approximate the level of output he demonstrated as a member of the Padres. The signing bears a strong resemblance to Cleveland’s minor league deal with Austin Jackson last offseason, and Upton could head to Spring Training and vie for a similar role to the one Jackson held in 2017 (though the addition of Upton likely doesn’t preclude the possibility of a reunion with Jackson himself).

    Kipnis The Mets' Top Option For Second Base? Fri, 15 Dec 2017 02:48:41 +0000
  • In a full story from Carig, he reports that the Mets are more willing to take on salary than give up significant prospects in trades.  This could lead them to Jason Kipnis, who both Carig and Puma cite as potentially the Mets’ top second base target.  The Indians owe Kipnis $28MM over the next two season, plus a $16.5MM club option for 2020 that carries a $2.5MM buyout.  Also from Carig, he reports that the Mets don’t seem to have much interest in another second baseman, the AthleticsJed Lowrie.
  • ]]>
    Trade Chatter: Nats, Rays, Fulmer, Reds, Jays, Braves, Giants, Yelich, Phils Thu, 14 Dec 2017 03:44:39 +0000 Looking to improve an already enviable rotation, the Nationals have Rays right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi on their radar, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (via Twitter). Either would cost far less in terms of salary than free agent Jake Arrieta will, and Heyman notes that the Nats are unsure if they’d be able to afford Arrieta. Heyman also points to Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke as a possibility for the Nats; however, he’s not exactly cheap, with $138.5MM coming his way through 2021.

    More on the trade front:

    • The Tigers “will only entertain lopsided offers” for righty Michael Fulmer, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). A trade involving the highly coveted 24-year-old doesn’t look likely, then.
    • The Blue Jays are interested in Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) and Jays Journal. The Braves also have interest in the 29-year-old Duvall, tweets Heyman. Duvall, a 30-home run hitter in each of the previous two seasons, is controllable for the next four years. He won’t be arbitration eligible until next winter.
    • The Giants’ own interest in Hamilton continues, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the chatter with the Reds has “faded significantly” of late. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds on Twitter that the Giants are the most serious suitors for Hamilton, but they’re “at a bit of a standoff” with the Reds. San Francisco still has interest in free agent Jay Bruce, per Rosenthal, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Bruce is the top name on San Francisco’s “wish list.” Still, the club has not made him an offer to this point.
    • It’s up in the air whether the Marlins will trade center fielder Christian Yelich. Either way, the Phillies will continue to monitor his availability, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays. Meanwhile, they’ve “been aggressive” in shopping shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to Salisbury, who adds (via Twitter) that the Angels “really liked” second baseman Cesar Hernandez before they acquired Ian Kinsler. The Halos didn’t want to meet the Phillies’ asking price for Hernandez, however.
    • The Red Sox asked about Marcell Ozuna before the Cardinals acquired him, but they did not have the sort of pitching assets the Marlins were for, Dombrowski told reporters including the Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link.) The Indians also inquired about Ozuna, Paul Hoynes of writes.
    • In addition to Chase Headley, the Padres are dangling infielder Yangervis Solarte in chatter with rival organizations, Heyman reports on Twitter. Solarte, 30, is controllable for the next three years at affordable costs (a guaranteed $4MM in 2018 and then club options totaling $13.5MM for 2019-20).
    • The Blue Jays were another team with interest in Kinsler before Wednesday’s trade, Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto was on Kinsler’s 10-team no-trade list, so it’s unclear how open he’d have been to going there.
    Mariners Acquire Shawn Armstrong Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:19:50 +0000 The Mariners and Indians have announced a deal that sends righty Shawn Armstrong to Seattle. Coming back in return is $500K in international bonus pool money, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets.

    Armstrong, 27, worked to a 4.38 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in his 24 2/3 MLB innings in the 2017 season. That said, he has averaged around 94 mph with his fastball in the majors and has a lifetime 11.3% swinging-strike rate in 43 1/3 total innings at the game’s highest level.

    There’s a broader minor-league sample to consider as well. Armstrong posted better numbers in 2017 at Triple-A, where he racked up 11.1 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 over 29 1/3 frames of 3.07 ERA ball. And he had set down 152 batters on strikes in 98 2/3 innings at Triple-A across two prior campaigns.

    Cubs, Indians Have Discussed Potential Danny Salazar Trade Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:16:47 +0000 According to Bruce Levine of CBS Sports Chicago, the Cubs and Indians have “had trade talk conversations,” and right-hander Danny Salazar’s name has come up. The Indians are reportedly asking for left-handed hitting in exchange. Levine adds that there is “nothing close at this time.”

    That the Indians are willing to entertain trade scenarios involving Salazar is a bit unexpected, but makes some sense considering the depth of the team’s rotation and the 2017 emergence of Mike Clevinger as a solid starter. With Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer also in the fold, the Indians are one of very few MLB teams who have an abundance of viable major league starters.

    Perhaps the bigger surprise is that the Indians are asking for lefty hitters in exchange. Based on a quick glance at the Tribe’s roster, one might guess that the Tribe would want players who hit from the right side of the plate. Their projected Opening Day lineup for 2018 (via Roster Resource) includes six players capable of hitting left-handed (switch-hitters Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez among them), while their righty options beyond Edwin Encarnacion haven’t proven themselves to be above-average hitters. If the Indians are indeed looking for a left-handed hitter, perhaps it’s an indication that trade talks for Jason Kipnis are in the more advanced stages, though that’s purely my own speculation.

    It’s unclear whether the talks for Salazar came before or after the recent signing of Drew Smyly, who carries both similar upside and similar injury risk. If they came (or continued) after the Smyly signing, one might wonder whether the Cubs intend to use one of Salazar or Smyly as a bullpen arm; four rotation spots would already seem to be filled by Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and the newly-signed Tyler Chatwood. Of course, Chicago might simply be taking a page out of the 2017 Dodgers’ book; L.A. patched together a rotation of oft-injured, high-upside starters who bounced between the rotation and the DL over the course of the season.

    As for Salazar, he carries tremendous upside. The right-handed fireballer has been known to hit the high nineties on the radar gun, even touching 100 on some occasions throughout his career. He mixes in a split change which ESPN’s Mark Simon once rated as the best pitch in MLB. Salazar also routinely carries one of the best strikeout rates in baseball, and though his career 3.82 ERA doesn’t jump off the page, his 3.42 career xFIP suggests he’s been quite a bit better than that number would indicate.

    Consistency and health are what hold Salazar back the most. Although he’s shown flashes of utter dominance (his first five starts back from the DL this past season come to mind), he’s never proven he can sustain his success over extended stretched of the season. As for his health, the righty has only topped 140 innings once during his major league career. He’s been through Tommy John surgery in the past, and has experienced a variety of elbow and shoulder issues in recent years.

    That being said, his upside is tremendous, and if Salazar is truly available, I’d expect the Indians will field a lot of calls on him. In particular, it seems likely that the clubs interested in Matt Harvey would want to reach out to Cleveland’s front office.

    Indians Have Interest In Logan Morrison Tue, 12 Dec 2017 23:06:40 +0000 If the Indians can’t re-sign Carlos Santana, Logan Morrison is on the team’s list of fallback options, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).  Morrison is coming off a career year and would require a solid multi-year commitment, though he would come with a lower price tag than the most established Santana.  The Angels and Red Sox were rumored to have interest in Morrison earlier this winter.

    Indians To Sign Alexi Ogando Tue, 12 Dec 2017 20:43:04 +0000 The Indians have reached a minors deal with righty Alexi Ogando,’s Jesse Sanchez reports on Twitter. He’s going to attempt to work as a starter in camp, per the report.

    Ogando, 34, pitched mostly from the rotation in a 2017 stint with the KBO’s Hanwha Eagles. Over 110 innings, he posted a 3.93 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the notoriously hitter-friendly Korean league.

    Between 2014 and 2016, Ogando had worked exclusively as a reliever. He managed a 3.94 earned run average in his 32-inning run with the Braves in 2016, averaging nearly 95 mph on his fastball, but also oversaw an ugly 29:23 K/BB ratio before being cut loose by Atlanta.

    Rangers, Padres, Rockies Join Indians, Others In Pursuit Of Carlos Santana Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:42:36 +0000 TUESDAY, 7:42am: Santana and his representatives are weighing offers from several teams, Hoynes reports, though it isn’t certain if he is close to accepting a deal.

    MONDAY, 5:04pm: The Padres have indeed discussed Santana, but “it seems they’re still focused on” Hosmer, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).

    1:51pm: The Rockies are also showing some interest in Santana, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. Colorado has a clear opening at first base, though the team has indicated its top priorities lie elsewhere.

    10:27am: Cleveland’s top extension offer to Santana was three years and $36MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, and the organization would “likely go higher” now that he’s on the open market.

    SUNDAY, 9:00pm: The Indians made Santana a contract offer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes reports.  While the offer wasn’t taken, the Tribe have been informed that they will get a chance to counter any offer Santana receives from another team that he considered acceptable.

    6:32pm: Carlos Santana is already drawing quite a bit of interest this offseason, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer adds the Rangers and Padres to the list of other teams (including the Phillies, Red Sox, and Mariners) already linked to Santana on the rumor mill.

    Texas is known to be focusing on adding pitching this winter, though the team’s offense also lacked some of the well-rounded attack of past years.  Santana would clearly be a big upgrade in the first base/DH hole left behind by free agent Mike Napoli, who struggled last year in a sub-replacement level season.  Santana’s arrival would bolster the Rangers’ lineup against the possible departure of Adrian Beltre after the 2018 season.

    Installing Santana at first base would have a ripple effect throughout the Rangers’ lineup.  Joey Gallo would have to return to left field, with Nomar Mazara shifting to right and Shin-Soo Choo being limited to DH duties.  Top prospect Willie Calhoun had been mentioned as a possible candidate for regular DH or corner outfield duty, though Texas might want to give him a bit more seasoning rather than expect Calhoun to immediately contribute to a team that hopes to contend.

    Previous reports seemed to downplay San Diego’s possible interest in Santana, though it could be that the Padres have since considered Santana for what seems to be an increasing desire to sign a first baseman.  The Padres have also had interest in Eric Hosmer, with the logic being that the 28-year-old Hosmer is young enough to still be productive in a few years when San Diego is theoretically finished with its rebuild.  Santana, by contrast, turns 32 in April, and while the slugger hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down, he wouldn’t have the luxury of the occasional DH rest day while playing for a National League team.

    Adding a first baseman would necessitate shifting Wil Myers into a corner outfield role, though the Padres may see that as an acceptable tradeoff for adding offense.  The Padres finished at or near the bottom of most major offensive categories last year, so a proven above-average hitter like Santana (who hit .259/.363/.455 with 23 homers over 667 PA last year and has posted a 123 wRC+ over his career) would add some much-needed pop to the lineup.

    Santana rejected the Indians’ qualifying offer, and thus the Rangers and Padres would each need to surrender some compensation to sign the first baseman.  Texas would give up their second-highest draft pick and $500K of international signing bonus money, while San Diego would only have to surrender its third-highest draft pick.

    Indians Have Interest In Matt Adams Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:02:25 +0000
  • Fresh off of a non-tender by the Braves, first baseman Matt Adams has drawn interest from a few organizations, according to Jerry Crasnick of (via Twitter). Specifically, the Indians, Royals, and Nationals have all reached out to Adams’s representatives. While Cleveland and Kansas City could offer fairly significant roles to the left-handed hitter — who really is best utilized in a platoon capacity — the Nats unsurprisingly would consider him as a frequently used bench piece who might take some of the burden from Ryan Zimmerman. Atlanta was not able to find a taker for Adams before the tender deadline; he had projected to earn $4.6MM via arbitration, so it’d be surprising if he ended up receiving more than that on the open market. For the Indians, it seems, adding a player such as Adams would represent something of a “fallback,” as Crasnick terms it, if the team is unable to strike a new deal with Carlos Santana. MLBTR’s Kyle Downing just analyzed Santana’s free agent case and we have also rounded up the latest market chatter on one of the market’s top bats.
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    Mets Have Talked With Indians, Tigers About Trades For Second Baseman Sun, 10 Dec 2017 01:02:55 +0000 7:02pm: The Tigers’ efforts to trade Kinsler have “intensified” of late, Katie Strang of The Athletic reports (subscription required and recommended). Moving Kinsler will be a key area of focus for Detroit during the upcoming week, Strang adds, given that the team has a full 40-man roster with Thursday’s Rule 5 draft approaching. The Tigers are slated to pick first in the draft, and dealing Kinsler by then would give them room to select a player with that choice.

    9:31am: According to Marc Carig of Newsday, the Mets have had talks about significant potential trades for Ian Kinsler of the Tigers and Jason Kipnis of the Indians. The Mets may also use the winter meetings to explore a deal with the Pirates for Josh Harrison, says Carig.

    At this point, Carig clarifies, it seems as though the Mets have had much more dialogue with the Tigers regarding Kinsler; however there’s “some skepticism about a deal getting done there”.

    It’s certainly no surprise to hear that a team with a need at second base has inquired on Kinsler. The last-place Tigers endured a rough first half last season that culminated in a decision to tear down and rebuild. Veterans J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Justin Verlander were all traded to different contending teams, and Detroit ultimately finished the season with just 64 wins. With no serious ability to contend next season, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd already pointed out that Kinsler seems like a prime trade candidate.

    While Kinsler finished 2017 with his worst full season by fWAR (2.4), he’s a solid bounceback candidate for a Mets team with plans to push for a pennant in 2018. Kinsler hit just .236/.313/.412 this past season, but was seemingly held back by some terrible luck with BABIP (.244). At 35, he’s no sure bet to return to previous form, but considering he combined for 9.8 fWAR between 2015 and 2016, acquiring Kinsler could be well worth the risk for the Mets.

    The news about talks for Kipnis are perhaps a bit more surprising. There’s been some speculation about Kipnis as a trade candidate this offseason; he’s coming off a down offensive year during which he hit just .232/.291/.414 and missed significant time due to shoulder and hamstring injuries, and he seems to have been displaced at the keystone by teammate Jose Ramirez. However, Kipnis is one of the more significant faces in the Indians franchise, and he’s been one of their best offensive players overall for the past half-decade. To this point, there’s been no indication from Cleveland’s camp that they’d be willing to trade Kipnis at all; the fact that they’ve had talks with the Mets about him seems to imply that they’re at least willing to explore trade scenarios.

    Of course, there’s no real word as to the extent of the trade talks surrounding Kipnis. The report that the Mets have had more dialogue about Kinsler and that such a deal is met with skepticism seems to imply that negotiations for Kipnis are far from advanced. It could be that the Mets were simply doing their due diligence, and that the Indians were willing to listen. Regardless, Kipnis being available to any extent would add an interesting new twist to a second base market that no longer includes Dee Gordon.

    While there’s not much word yet on the Mets’ reported interest in Harrison, he’d also be an upgrade to their current depth chart. Harrison has been a solid infielder for the Pirates over the past four seasons, and is capable of playing in the outfield and at third base as well. The Pirates haven’t yet signaled whether or not they’re making a push for contention, but if they decide to rebuild instead, Harrison would be one of the more obvious trade candidates. The 30-year-old is guaranteed $11.5MM for the remainder of his contract, which includes salary for 2018 season as well as buyouts for 2019 and 2020. Harrison hit .272/.339/.432 across 542 plate appearances for Pittsburgh last season.

    Two Teams Have Made Offers To Bryan Shaw Sat, 09 Dec 2017 17:10:03 +0000 Dec. 9th: Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that the Mets made an offer to Shaw around Thanksgiving. Shaw, however, “might be inclined” to wait for closers Greg Holland and Wade Davis to sign in order to let the market for setup men establish itself.

    Nov. 25th: Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports via Twitter that the Twins are not one of the teams that made an offer to Shaw, according to a source with “direct knowledge”.

    Nov. 24th: According to Paul Hoynes of, two separate teams have made multi-year offers to Indians free agent reliever Bryan Shaw. As of now, the identities of the two teams are not yet known.

    Hoynes notes that the Mets are reportedly among the teams that have shown interest in the right-hander. Shaw has spent the last five seasons with the Indians, during which time newly-minted Mets manager Mickey Callaway was his pitching coach.

    Shaw has long been one of baseball’s most durable relievers. Since coming to Cleveland in the three-team trade that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds, the 6’1″ righty has logged at least 64 innings. During that time, he’s appeared in a major league-leading 378 games. That kind of consistency from a reliever is rare, making him a coveted asset in this year’s free agent crop. Shaw ranked 25th on this year’s iteration of MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions. For what it’s worth, MLBTR picked Shaw to land with the Red Sox.

    Durability wasn’t the only reason Shaw earned a spot in the top 25, however. The former second-round draft pick of the Diamondbacks has a lifetime 3.13 ERA, and has never posted a full-season mark higher than this year’s 3.52. And yet, despite a career-high ERA, Shaw managed to post his highest-ever fWAR total for a single season in 2017 (1.6 fWAR). While his 0.65 WPA for the season doesn’t quite paint the same picture, it’s difficult to argue that Shaw has provided great value to the Tribe in a setup role.

    Shaw just turned 30 years old this month. It seems likely he’ll command at least a three-year contract.

    Indians Could Pursue Non-Tendered Players Fri, 08 Dec 2017 02:51:34 +0000
  • If the Indians don’t re-sign free agent first baseman Carlos Santana and outfielder Jay Bruce, the recently non-tendered Matt Adams could make sense as a first base/designated hitter option, Paul Hoynes of observes. Adams and Edwin Encarnacion would share the two positions, suggests Hoynes, who lists several other non-tendered players (Terrance Gore, Drew Smyly, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Jared Hughes, Hector Rondon and Bruce Rondon) as possible buy-low targets for the Indians.
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    Indians Sign Dan Otero To Two-Year Deal Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:36:33 +0000 The Indians announced today that they’ve extended right-handed reliever Dan Otero, agreeing to a two-year contract extension with a club option for a third year. The contract will buy out the ACES client’s final two years of arbitration eligibility and also give the team control over his first free-agent year.’s Jordan Bastian reports (via Twitter) that Otero will be guaranteed $2.5MM on the deal. He’ll earn $1.1MM in 2018, $1.3MM in 2019 and has a $1.5MM club option with a $100K buyout. Otero can also earn $100K annually in bonuses tied to games finished.

    Otero had already agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.3MM for the 2018 season this past Friday, so this new agreement will supersede that deal. It’s an eye-opener to see Otero agree to surrender a free-agent season for a minimal guarantee when he already had that deal in place, though it’s worth noting that arbitration deals like the one he agreed to last week aren’t fully guaranteed.

    This contract, though, will afford Otero at least $2.5MM — a sum he wouldn’t have thought possible prior to the 2016 season when he was an unheralded waiver claim by the Indians. Set to turn 33 in February and with just over $3MM in career earnings to date, it seems that Otero simply prioritized taking the best guarantee that Cleveland was willing to offer.

    While that’s not difficult to understand from a human perspective, the deal looks like a favorable one for the Indians from a baseball standpoint. Otero won’t blow anyone away with a fastball that averages just 90 mph, but he’s worked to an excellent 2.14 ERA in his 130 2/3 innings with Cleveland over the past two seasons. In that time, he’s averaged 6.5 K/9 against 1.3 BB/9 with just 0.6 HR/9 and a 63 percent ground-ball rate.

    Indians, Michael Martinez Agree To Minor League Deal Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:14:09 +0000 The Indians agreed to a minor league deal with infielder/outfielder Michael Martinez over the weekend, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that a deal is expected to be announced “in the near future.” Martinez will receive an invite to Major League Spring Training.

    Martinez, 35, keeps finding his way back to Cleveland. This will be the third minor league deal he’s inked with the Indians, who have twice traded Martinez away only to claim him back off waivers shortly thereafter. In all, he’s spent parts of three seasons in the organization, hitting a combined .257/.289/.331 in 145 Major League plate appearances.

    Martinez has never hit much in the Majors, batting just .194/.243/.261 in 621 plate appearances between the Indians, Phillies, Rays, Pirates and Red Sox. He has experience at every position on the field outside of first base and catcher, though, so he’ll likely serve as a versatile depth option in Triple-A with the Indians to open the season. He’s a career .281/.333/.392 hitter at that level.

    Indians Interested In Re-Signing Austin Jackson Mon, 04 Dec 2017 04:03:48 +0000
  • The Indians are interested in a reunion with Austin Jackson “but at the right price,” according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Jackson proved to be a big bargain for the Tribe in 2017, as he signed a minor league deal and then hit an outstanding .318/.387/.482 over 318 plate appearances while seeing time at all three outfield positions.  Jackson would bring a right-handed presence to a projected Cleveland outfield that currently features three left-handed hitters (Michael Brantley, Bradley Zimmer, Lonnie Chisenhall), though there’s certainly question as to whether Jackson can sustain his production, given his .385 BABIP from last season and his recent history of subpar offensive numbers.
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    Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Saturday Sun, 03 Dec 2017 00:54:57 +0000 The latest on game-changing Japanese ace/slugger Shohei Ohtani, whom the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters posted on Friday and who’s at the beginning of a three-week window to work out an agreement with a major league team:

    • The Ohtani sweepstakes is seemingly on the verge of picking up in earnest, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the 23-year-old CAA Sports client will meet with various teams in Los Angeles next week (Twitter link). The Mariners are among those clubs, suggests Passan, who relays that team brass has asked multiple members of its roster to clear their schedules for a potential meeting with Ohtani. That comes on the heels of general manager Jerry Dipoto’s revelation last week that the Mariners are preparing an aggressive push press for Ohtani. “We’re not joking around. We’re bringing the big guns,” declared Dipoto (Twitter link via Greg Johns of
    • Ohtani’s camp will notify certain teams this weekend if they’ll remain in the mix to sign him, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Padres are hopeful they’ll advance to the next round. “As a group, we’re prepared, and I think he’s a player that obviously we’ve scouted and have history with,” GM A.J. Preller told Lin. “You try to see what the fits are and why he’s a good fit for us and why we’re a good fit for him. We’re kind of down the path of doing that work.”
    • The Red Sox will also chase Ohtani, per president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald via text: “Would acknowledge our interest. Beyond that, all would be confidential.” Ohtani joining Chris Sale and David Price would make for a rather enticing top of the rotation, needless to say, and he could also factor in as a designated hitter for a Boston club that received uninspiring production there last season in the first year of the post-David Ortiz era.
    • Count the World Series-winning Astros as yet another team that will court Ohtani. Owner Jim Crane told Brian McTaggart of that the Astros will “put a full-court press on” to sign Ohtani, adding that they’ll “probably send the A-team out there.” He also noted that the Astros “need a left-handed DH, so there you have it.” In addition to having the ability to demonstrate his offensive prowess in Houston, Ohtani would add another potential front-end starter to a rotation that already includes past Cy Young winners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.
    • While the Rays are obvious long shots to land Ohtani, they have an advantage over other teams with the presence of two-way prospect Brendan McKay, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times observes. McKay, the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft, could be both a pitcher and a hitter in the majors. “We’re hopeful (McKay) can do it,” Rays GM Erik Neander said. “We want to give him the opportunity to do it because he’s shown he deserves that opportunity and we don’t want to take that away from him prematurely.” Citing McKay’s presence, the Rays will emphasize to Ohtani that they’re open-minded about developing and employing a two-way player, per Topkin, who also expects them to pitch Tampa Bay’s “relaxed” lifestyle during the recruiting process.
    • The Marlins, MLB’s other Florida-based organization, are unlikely to make an effort for Ohtani, Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. The cost-cutting Marlins are wary of the financial commitment it would take to reel in Ohtani, who won’t require much from a salary standpoint but will cost a $20MM posting fee. While that looks like a relatively minor amount for a possible franchise face like Ohtani, the Marlins simply aren’t in position to fork it over in their current financial state, Healey explains.
    • While the Indians only have $10K in international bonus pool space, they’re expected to partake in the Ohtani derby, per Paul Hoynes of He’d slot into an already loaded rotation, one which features two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco; additionally, Ohtani could DH for a team at risk of losing Carlos Santana in free agency.
    • All things considered, the Yankees may be the favorites for Ohtani. There’s a general “fear” coming from other franchises regarding the Bronx Bombers, tweets Passan, given the talent on hand, the market they’re in and their strong relationship with CAA Sports. They also have the second-biggest international bonus pool.
    Players Avoiding Arbitration: 12/1/17 Sat, 02 Dec 2017 01:05:54 +0000 With the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players set for 8pm tonight, there should be several agreements over the next few hours — particularly among players that were considered to be potential non-tender candidates. Many non-tender candidates will be presented with offers that are lower than what they’d project to earn via arbitration in a “take it or leave it” manner; some will agree to the lesser deal (as Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt did earlier this morning) while others will reject and likely hit the open market.

    Here’s today’s slate of players that have avoided the arb process and locked in at least a partial guarantee for the upcoming season (arbitration contracts are not fully guaranteed, but each of these players will be guaranteed one sixth of the agreed-upon sum unless specifically negotiated otherwise). All projections are via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

    • The Padres announced that lefty Robbie Erlin has agreed to a contract for 2018. The 27-year-old missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery and was projected to earn $700K through arbitration. Terms of his deal have not yet been reported.
    • The Braves appear to have agreed to terms with just-claimed righty Chase Whitley, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Whitley, who was projected to earn $1.0MM in his first season of arb eligibility, is said to be in line for an opportunity to work as a starter. It’s a split deal that would pay Whitley $800K in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.
    • The Mariners agreed with Andrew Romine on a $1.05MM contract, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Romine, a versatile infielder, was claimed off waivers after the end of the 2017 season.
    • Outfielder Abraham Almonte has reached a deal to avoid arbitration with the Indians, per a club announcement. He had featured as a possible non-tender candidate but instead found common ground with the organization. Almonte, 28, slashed just .233/.314/.366 in his 195 trips to the plate in 2017. He had projected to earn a $1.1MM payday in his first season of arbitration eligibility but will take home $825K, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).
    • The Royals have agreed to terms with righty Mike Morin to avoid arbitration, the club announced. He’ll receive a split contract,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets, with a $750K annual earning rate in the majors and $250K in the minors. Morin, who projected at $700K, drew a mention on MLBTR’s non-tender candidates list. Indeed, his contract reflects the middling season that he turned in. Morin allowed 16 earned runs in twenty MLB frames, though he was more effective at Triple-A.
    • Yimi Garcia and the Dodgers have avoided arbitration, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter). Garia projected to command only a $700K salary after missing all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery; he’ll end up taking home $630K, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Now 27, Garcia had established himself as a significant member of the Dodgers’ bullpen in 2015, when he compiled a 3.34 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 56 2/3 innings. But injuries limited him in the ensuing season and ultimately culminated in a UCL replacement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Indians have agreed to a contract with righty Dan Otero. Otero will take home $1.3MM, per’s Jordan Bastian (via Twitter). He was projected to command $1.4MM. The 32-year-old Otero has been an unmitigated bargain for Cleveland over the past two years, turning in 130 2/3 total innings of 2.14 ERA pitching despite averaging just 6.5 K/9 in that span. Otero has succeeded with unfailing command (just 19 walks since joining the Indians) and a hefty groundball rate (over 60% in each of the past two seasons).
    • The Angels and righty Blake Wood agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal that falls well shy of his $2.2MM projection, as FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to report (via Twitter). Wood struggled mightily in Cincinnati before being picked up by the Halos late in the year and turning his season around a bit. In 17 innings with the Angels, he posted a 4.76 ERA with a much more promising 22-to-4 K/BB ratio. Heyman notes that he can earn up to $50K worth of incentives as well.
    • The White Sox announced that they’ve signed right-hander Danny Farquhar to a one-year deal worth $1.05MM — a pact that falls shy of his $1.5MM projection. In 49 1/3 innings between the Rays and ChiSox, the 30-year-old logged a 4.20 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and a 41.7 percent ground-ball rate.
    Indians Agree To Minor League Deals With Neil Ramirez, Evan Marshall Thu, 30 Nov 2017 16:38:01 +0000 The Indians announced today that they’ve signed right-handed relievers Neil Ramirez and Evan Marshall to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Cleveland also confirmed its previously reported signing of veteran outfielder Brandon Barnes to the same type of contract.

    Ramirez, 29 in May, split the 2017 seasons between the Giants and Mets, totaling 31 1/3 innings at the big league level. The former Rangers/Cubs prospect has long showed the ability to miss bats at the big league level and did so once again in 2017 (12.6 K/9), but he’s also been an extreme fly-ball pitcher with control issues and a susceptibility to home runs. Ramirez finished up the 2017 campaign with a 7.18 ERA and six homers allowed in those 31 1/3 frames. In 113 total innings at the MLB level, he’s worked to a 4.22 ERA but also averaged 4.9 walks per nine innings pitched.

    Marshall looked like a long-term cog in the D-backs’ bullpen with a brilliant 2014 debut, tossing 49 1/3 innings with a 2.74 ERA with 9.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 60.7 percent ground-ball rate with a fastball that averaged 93.9 mph. However, Marshall spent much of the 2015 season in Triple-A and suffered a frightening skull fracture when he was hit by a comebacker in September shortly after returning to the Majors.

    His 2016-17 seasons produced middling results, and he’s posted an overall 7.93 ERA in 36 1/3 innings with a 20-to-18 K/BB ratio. Marshall spent the 2017 campaign with the Mariners but was limited to 7 2/3 innings, partially due to a hamstring injury, before being outrighted off the 40-man roster and electing minor league free agency at season’s end.

    Indians, Brandon Barnes Agree To Minor League Deal Mon, 27 Nov 2017 21:42:34 +0000
  • Outfielder Brandon Barnes is joining the Indians on a minor league contract, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The PSI Sports Management client hit .276/.331/.420 with Miami’s Triple-A affiliate last season but didn’t appear in the Majors — his first season without big league action since splitting the 2011 season between Double-A and Triple-A. The 31-year-old Barnes has drawn considerably above-average reviews for his work in the outfield, per Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, but he’s a career .242/.289/.356 hitter. Barnes can play all three outfield spots and could conceivably fill a role similar to the one Austin Jackson held in Cleveland last year, but although he’s a right-handed bat, he lacks Jackson’s track record against left-handed pitching.
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    Brewers Claim Dylan Baker From Indians Mon, 27 Nov 2017 19:53:14 +0000 The Brewers announced that they’ve claimed righty Dylan Baker off waivers from the Indians. Baker was designated for assignment last week as part of Cleveland’s slew of moves in advance of the deadline to set 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.

    The 25-year-old Baker hasn’t pitched much since the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery and other injuries. The 2012 fifth-rounder has tossed just 21 1/3 innings across three levels in the past three minor league seasons combined, though he’s posted a 3.58 ERA in 241 2/3 innings in his minor league career when healthy. With Baker’s addition, the Brewers now have a full 40-man roster.

    Reds Claim Kyle Crockett From Indians Mon, 27 Nov 2017 19:50:09 +0000 The Reds announced on Monday that they’ve claimed left-handed reliever Kyle Crockett off waivers from the Indians. Crockett, 25, was designated for assignment in Cleveland last week as the team set its 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.

    Crockett was a fourth-round pick back in 2013 and was the first player from that draft class to reach the Majors, debuting in 2014. While he turned in a promising 1.80 ERA with 8.4 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 in 30 innings that season, he’s struggled to a 4.84 ERA with 8.7 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 35 1/3 big league innings since then. To his credit, Crockett has allowed just a minuscule three homers in 65 1/3 MLB innings and has held lefties to a .614 OPS in 167 plate appearances. Righties have knocked him around at a .280/.373/.452 clip, though.

    The addition of Crockett fills Cincinnati’s 40-man roster.

    Indians Sign Leonel Campos, Jeff Beliveau To Minors Deals Wed, 22 Nov 2017 22:58:03 +0000
  • The Indians announced that they’ve signed left-hander Jeff Beliveau, right-hander Leonel Campos and infielder Drew Maggi to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Both Beliveau and Campos pitched out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen in 2017. The 30-year-old Beliveau tossed 15 2/3 innings and struggled to a 7.47 ERA, though he racked up 17 strikeouts against six walks in that time. Beliveau threw 24 excellent innings for the Rays in 2014 but has seen his career slowed by shoulder surgery. As for Campos, the 30-year-old posted a 2.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings with Toronto last year but also walked eight in that time. He’s averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings in Triple-A but has also battled control issues. As for Maggi, the 28-year-old hit .271/.367/.392 in 298 Triple-A plate appearances with the Dodgers last year and owns a lifetime .272/.362/.385 batting line at that level.
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    Indians Claim Rob Refsnyder, Designate Kyle Crockett & Dylan Baker Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:06:17 +0000 The Indians announced today that they’ve claimed infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder off waivers from the Blue Jays and designated left-hander Kyle Crockett and Dylan Baker for assignment. Cleveland has also selected the contracts of right-hander Julian Merryweather and infielders Willi Castro, Yu Chang and Eric Stamets. That series of moves fills the Indians’ 40-man roster and leaves the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster at a total of 33 players.

    The 26-year-old Refsnyder split the 2017 season between the Yankees (who originally drafted him in 2012) and the Blue Jays but struggled to a composite .170/.247/.216 slash line. While Refsnyder has long turned in intriguing offensive stats in the minors, he’s batted just .233/.306/.311 in 320 big league plate appearances. At one point, Yankees fans hoped that Refsnyder could hold down the team’s second base job in the Majors, but he’s now split his time fairly equally between second, first base and left field in the Majors.

    Crockett, 25, was a fourth-round pick back in 2013 and was the first player from that draft class to reach the Majors, debuting in 2014. While he turned in a promising 1.80 ERA with 8.4 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 in 30 innings that season, he’s struggled to a 4.84 ERA with 8.7 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 35 1/3 big league innings since then. To his credit, Crockett has allowed just a minuscule three homers in 65 1/3 MLB innings and has held lefties to a .614 OPS in 167 plate appearances. Righties have knocked him around at a .280/.373/.452 clip, though.

    Baker, 25, has scarcely pitched since the 2015 season due to injuries, including Tommy John surgery. The 2012 fifth-rounder has tossed just 21 1/3 innings across three levels in the past three minor league seasons combined, though he’s posted a 3.58 ERA in 241 2/3 innings in his minor league career when healthy.

    Chang (No. 4), Castro (No. 9) and Merryweather (No. 12) each ranked within the Indians’ top 30 prospects, according to Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of

    Several Indians Have Drawn Trade Interest This Month Sun, 19 Nov 2017 17:27:28 +0000 While it’s unclear if any deals will materialize, a slew of Indians drew trade interest at this month’s general managers meetings, according to Terry Pluto of Specifically, teams inquired about a few Indians pitchers – including right-handers Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger – as well as catchers Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes. Clubs also approached the Tribe about a couple less heralded members of the organization in outfielder Greg Allen and minor league righty Shane Bieber, Pluto adds. Of those players, it’s clear Carrasco would warrant the largest return, but there’s no reason for the Indians to move him. Conversely, the Tribe would be open to dealing either Perez or Gomes, Pluto suggests, considering the team has high-end prospect Francisco Mejia waiting in the wings behind those two.