After spending the first half of the offseason trimming their payroll, the Indians may be switching the focus to filling some areas of need on their roster.
On Sunday, Cleveland acquired catcher Kevin Plawecki from the Mets in exchange for right-hander Walker Lockett and Minor League infielder Sam Haggerty.
Plawecki and the Indians agreed to terms Wednesday afternoon to avoid arbitration. According to a report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the contract was a one-year deal worth approximately $1.1 million. The Indians have not confirmed the report.
"We're excited to add Kevin to our Major League catching mix," Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. "The guy has earned a reputation as a really good teammate, a good receiver, and leads a pitching staff really well."
Plawecki, 27, has spent his entire professional career in the Mets' organization and he has been on the club's Major League roster for the past four seasons. He was a first-round pick (35th overall) in the 2012 MLB Draft. In 2018, Plawecki appeared in a career-high 79 games, despite a six-week stint on the disabled list with a broken left hand. In 238 at-bats, Plawecki hit .210 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs. On the defensive end, Plawecki threw out 22.9 percent of potential basestealers.
"We also believe there's some upside with him offensively," Antonetti said. "And we like his ingredients to hit, and think he can be a contributing member of our Major League team."
After the Indians dealt Yan Gomes to the Nationals on Nov. 30, it was assumed that the catching duties would be handed to Roberto Perez -- who appeared in 62 games last season -- with Eric Haase -- who was a Septermber callup -- having a chance to compete for a backup spot. Antonetti said he still thinks Perez will get the bulk of the playing time, but the club will wait to see how all the catchers fare at Spring Training.
"[It will] not necessarily be a platoon situation [with Perez and Plawecki]," Antonetti said. "I think exactly how we split that playing time remains to be seen as we get into Spring Training, but we felt this was an opportunity to acquire another Major League catcher that could help absorb some of the burden in losing Yan."
Along with the previous trade of Francisco Mejia to the Padres in exchange for Brad Hand and Adam Cimber in July, the Indians added Plawecki for depth behind the dish. But Antonetti was clear this acquisition does not mean that Haase's chances of making the Major League club have decreased.
"We still think Eric's got a chance to impact our Major League team," Antonetti said. "... In acquiring Kevin, we added a quality Major League catcher and he'll enter that mix and go to Spring Training with Roberto and Eric, and go and compete."
Haggerty, 24, was selected by the Indians in the 24th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of New Mexico. He spent the majority of the '18 season at Double-A Akron, hitting .243 with 21 doubles, five triples, four home runs and 37 RBIs.
Lockett, 24, was traded from the Padres to the Indians on Nov. 20 in exchange for righty Ignacio Feliz.
This will most likely not be the final move the Indians make prior to camp. Antonetti said the club has been "very active on the trade front" over the last couple of weeks.
"I think we'll continue to look for opportunities to improve," Antonetti said. "Basically since the holidays ended and we turned the page on the new year, I would say conversations throughout the league have intensified. We're hopeful to be able to make a few more additions to our organization over the course of the next few weeks."