Dec. 23: Freeman accepted his assignment and will be a non-roster invitee to Major League Spring Training in 2020, the Indians announced Monday morning.
Dec. 20: The Indians have outrighted utility player Mike Freeman to Triple-A Columbus, Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com reports. The club previously designated Freeman for assignment last weekend when it traded right-hander Corey Kluber to Texas for reliever Emmanuel Clase and outfielder Delino DeShields.
Because the 32-year-old Freeman has been outrighted in the past, he has the right to reject the Indians’ assignment to Columbus in favor of free agency. They’ll know his fate by Sunday, Hoynes notes.
Although the Indians booted Freeman from their 40-man roster, he’s actually coming off a respectable season. Freeman amassed a personal-high 213 plate appearances in 2019 and slashed a playable .277/.362/.390 (good for a nearly league-average 99 wRC+), though he did benefit from an unsustainable .388 batting average on balls in play. Defensively, Freeman saw action at three infield positions – second, third and short – as well as left field. Freeman even pitched two innings for the team.
Considering his decent 2019 showing, it’s possible Freeman will return to the open market a little over a year after the Indians signed him to a minor league contract. Before joining the Cleveland organization, Freeman received big league at-bats with the Diamondbacks (who chose him in the 11th round of the 2010 draft), Mariners, Cubs and Dodgers. He’s a lifetime .232/.316/.332 hitter across 304 PA in the majors and a .305/.372/.418 batter in 2,030 attempts in Triple-A ball.