Lefty Logan strives to bring balance to bullpen

February 24th, 2017
Boone Logan held left-handed batters to a .142 average last season with Colorado. (Jordan Bastian)

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- was openly pulling for the Indians when he watched the World Series last fall.

Over the past three years with the Rockies, Logan grew to dislike the Cubs. The veteran left-hander said he has nothing against Chicago as a city. He added that he does not have any issues with any individual Cubs players, either. The distaste for the Cubs has nothing to do with the team's history or ballpark. Logan laughed as he tried to find an answer for something he decided lacks a concrete explanation.

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"I just didn't want the Cubs to win," Logan said with a shrug. "It was just one of those teams you don't want to see win. I don't know. I can't even explain it."

The Cubs, of course, did win. And now, Logan will try to help the Indians follow suit.

From afar, Logan watched how Indians manager Terry Francona leaned heavily on his bullpen throughout the playoffs, utilizing relief ace and closer to nearly win it all. The one thing Cleveland lacked last season, though, was a complementary lefty to balance out its talented relief corps. About a week before Logan signed with the Tribe to fill that role, Francona reached out via phone.

"I just wanted to let him hear it from me that we really wanted him," Francona said.

The feeling, as it turned out, was mutual.

"I told him, 'I've always wanted to be in your dugout at least once in my career and play for you,'" Logan recalled. "And I could see where I could fit in on this team, too. That was the main part."

The back-end of the bullpen is anchored by Miller and Allen, and the bullpen also projects to include right-handers , Dan Otero and Zach McAllister. Logan gives Francona an experienced lefty who held left-handed batters to a .142 average (.477 OPS) last season with Colorado. Cleveland is hopeful that adding Logan will not only ease Miller's workload, but will help limit the righties' exposure to lefty hitters.

Cleveland checked in with Logan throughout the offseason, which did not play out the way he expected.

When lefty signed a four-year, $30.5 million contract with the Cardinals on Nov. 21, the left-handed relief market got off to an unusual start. Then, Colorado inked lefty Mike Dunn to a three-year, $19 million pact on Dec. 15. That essentially stalled the market for Logan, who knew those signings would cause hesitation for many owners around the league.

Eventually, Cleveland signed him to a one-year deal that includes a $5.5 million base salary in '17 with a $7 million team option (or $1 million buyout) for '18.

"The market was weird. I've never been a part of that before," Logan said. "But, you know what? Winning is way more important. That's what I want to do here. That's what everyone wants to do."