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