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Aviles, Indians agree to multi-year deal, Hill signed

Aviles, Indians agree to multi-year deal, Hill signed
February 7, 2013
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On Thursday the Cleveland Indians announced that they have signed infielder Mike Aviles to a two-year $6 million contract that includes a club option for the 2015 season. His signing brings all arbitration eligible players under contract for the 2013 season, and keeps the Indians streak intact of not going to arbitration since 1991 (Swindell, Browne).

Aviles, 31, is entering his first season with the Indians after he was acquired in an offseason trade from the Toronto Blue Jays on November 3rd in exchange for right-handed reliever Esmil Rogers. Last season he was the primary shortstop for the Boston Red Sox and in 136 games he hit .250 (128-512) with 28 doubles, 13 homers, and 60 RBI.  Last season he amassed career-highs in doubles, homers, and RBI and tied career-bests in extra-base hits (41) and steals (14).  He also hit .286 (42-149) with a .429 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching.

With Aviles in the fold and under club control for the next three seasons he will fill a role similar to that of Jamey Carroll when he was with the Tribe where he plays often and at multiple positions. He will backup Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis at shortstop and second base respectively, but will also help ease third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall into everyday duties and probably replace him often against tough left-handed pitchers. New manager Terry Francona has also been saying that he could see some time in left field and right field. In total, he will probably play around 100 games and accrue around 350-450 plate appearances as a super utility player.

The long term deal with Aviles also brings into question the future for Cabrera, who the Indians came close to trading earlier this offseason. With him under contract for long term, he may end up as the one that fills the Indians shortstop need in the short term while they await the arrival of top prospect Francisco Lindor sometime in the 2015 season, and thus may allow them to continue pursuing trade possibilities with Cabrera this spring and throughout the 2013 season.

The Indians also announced that they have signed left-handed pitcher Rich Hill to a minor league contract with a non-roster invite to Major League spring training. He is expected to compete for a bullpen spot this spring.

Hill, 32, owns a career Major League record of 23-20 with a 4.60 ERA in 118 games (70 starts) with the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox (427.0 IP, 384 H, 192 BB, 391K). In his career he has limited Major League hitters to a .240 (384-1598) average against, including a mark of .209 (74-354) vs. left-handed batters (.665OPS). For his career he has averaged 8.24 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched.

Hill spent the last three seasons in the Boston Red Sox organization, going a combined 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA in 40 relief appearances (31.2 IP, 25 H, 15 BB, 36 K, .217AVG).  In 2012, he posted an ERA of 1.83 (19.2 IP, 17 H, 21K), but was limited to 25 outings because of two trips to the disabled list resulting from his recovery from his 2011 reconstructive left elbow surgery.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

Shannon Williams
March 7, 2013 - 8:34 PM EST
Aviles is a great pick up for the tribe. He played great at times last season. We have to eventually move Cabrera due to the gem prospect Lindor. Aviles not only gives the tribe flexibility at SS but several other positions!!
Tony
February 8, 2013 - 12:59 PM EST
Bryson is very far down the ML pecking order. Lacks good enough command to pitch in the big leagues, so likely will not pitch with Indians in MLs and leave in offseason as a minor league free agent.
dick
February 8, 2013 - 11:56 AM EST
like the idea of rotational DH ... resting starters.

the RP signings are intriguing but at what point does that undermine development and opportunities of tribe youngsters. Is somebody like Bryson a diamond to be "discovered" by some other franchise?
Denny
February 7, 2013 - 7:19 PM EST
Keep up the minor league signings.Maybe a minor contract for A. Huff/Thome , and another starting pitcher would be really great.I`ve seen Aviles play, and he has that spark and drive you want on a team!
Peter
February 7, 2013 - 5:32 PM EST
Like the Rich Hill signing. Really impressed with the minor league signings/flyers the Tribe has made this off season. Odds are good 1 or 2 pan out.

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