Indians sign Felix Pie
December 11, 2011
According to a report in the Baltimore Sun on Sunday, the Indians have agreed to terms with Felix Pie on a minor league contract with an invite to Major League spring training. The Indians have yet to formally announce the signing, likely because final terms of the deal are still being completed and he has to pass a physical. An official announcement should come soon if no hang ups occur with the contract terms or physical.
Pie, 26, is a career .249 hitter with a .673 OPS in 398 games in the big leagues. Last year with the Orioles he hit .220 with 0 HR, 7 RBI and a .545 OPS in 85 games.
Pie is a former high level prospect with the Chicago Cubs a few years ago who has been a disappointment the last few seasons in the big leagues. Five years ago at this time he was the Cubs #1 prospect, but after two disappointing seasons in Chicago in 2007 and 2008 he was traded to Baltimore in January of 2009. The Orioles designated him for assignment this year after he put up three disappointing seasons with them, thus making him a free agent.
The Indians are taking a shot on his youth and prospect pedigree, much like they did with Travis Buck last year when they signed him to a minor league contract. Like Pie, Buck was also once a #1 prospect and had several disappointing seasons that resulted in him being let go. Buck came into spring training this past season and surprised and ended up making the opening day roster, so there is always the chance the same could happen with Pie.
This is simply a depth option for the team, and one they will likely stash at Triple-A Columbus. There is talk that Pie may have an opt out clause where he can decline an assignment to the minors and become a free agent, but after the season he just had it would make little sense to exercise that clause unless he plays lights out this spring. Of course, if he does that, the Indians likely keep him on the big league roster anyway.
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Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2013 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.