Indians officially sign Ben Francisco and Ryan Raburn
Today the Indians announced that they have officially signed infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn and outfielder Ben Francisco to minor league contracts with an invite as non-roster payers to Major League spring training.
Francisco, 31, owns a career Major League average of .257 (395-1535) with 104 doubles, 49 home runs and 189 RBI over 542 games with Cleveland, Philadelphia, Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay. He made his Major League debut with the Indians in 2007, and in 235 games with the Indians from 2007-2009 he hit .261 (213-817) with 58 2B, 28 HR, 99RBI, and .768OPS. He was traded to the Phillies in July of 2009 as part of the Cliff Lee deal and spent two and half seasons with them, and last season split time between the Blue Jays, Astros and Rays where he hit .240 (46-192) with 14 2B, 4 HR, 15 RBI and .670 OPS in 82 games.
Raburn, 31, is a right-handed hitter that has spent his entire professional career with the Detroit Tigers. In 566 games with the Tigers he has accumulated a .256 batting average with 95 doubles, 54 HR, 216 RBI, and .740 OPS. He has hit at least 14 home runs in less than 400 at bats over each season from 2009-2011 and owns a career .796 OPS against left-handed pitching. He missed some time last season because of a right thumb injury and right quad strain which landed him on the disabled list and may have affected his performance. He has some versatility as he has appeared in 396 games in the outfield and 143 games at second base.
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Francisco will probably be the primary callup if an OF goes down from injury or performance. He is unlikely to embarrass the team the way our LFs did last year.
The off season acquisitions all seem to have been purposeful. They might not work out but I cannot fault the effort.
Raburn makes some sense due to the versatility. Francisco due to experience. But the OF looks set, barring injury. Carrera is a proven commodity and a decent 4th outfielder. Fedroff appears to be about the same, but with a little more pop. There's also Phelps trying to add some versatility as well, so I doubt Francisco gets the call unless he has an incredible spring or we have a lot of injuries. I think he'd be pretty interchangeable as a 4th OF. So he adds some depth.
Raburn adds more Ks, but also a little more pop over the other guys as well.
So nothing to get excited about but also nothing to complain about.
I'd personally love to see them decide to spend some money on Lohse, though not the kind of money that some have talked about ($15M per season). I'll take the chance on Matsuzaka at a much lower cost.