CLEVELAND -- The trade that fell apart between the Indians and Brewers two seasons ago continues to have an impact on Cleveland's roster. The latest ripple is that shortstop prospect Yu-Cheng Chang can now prepare for his first Spring Training with the Tribe.On Monday, Chang was among the four players
CLEVELAND -- The trade that fell apart between the Indians and Brewers two seasons ago continues to have an impact on Cleveland's roster. The latest ripple is that shortstop prospect Yu-Cheng Chang can now prepare for his first Spring Training with the Tribe.
On Monday, Chang was among the four players added to the 40-man roster by the Indians, protecting them from being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft next month at the Winter Meetings. Cleveland selected the contracts of Chang, infielder Eric Stamets, right-hander Julian Merryweather and shortstop Willi Castro from Triple-A Columbus. The Indians also claimed utility man Rob Refsnyder off waivers from the Blue Jays.
In order to clear room on the 40-man roster for those five players, the Indians designated left-hander Kyle Crockett and right-hander Dylan Baker for assignment. Earlier this month, the Indians also added catcher Eric Haase to their 40-man roster.
Prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2016, Chang (No. 4 on the Indians' Top 30 prospects list, per MLBPipeline.com) was included in an agreed-upon package of players that would have been shipped to Milwaukee in exchange for catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Catcher Francisco Mejia (No. 1), outfielder Greg Allen (No.7) and reliever Shawn Armstrong were also in the proposed deal.
• Top 30 Indians prospects
Lucroy vetoed the trade and Cleveland kept the four players, who are all on the Tribe's 40-man roster and will be in camp with the Major League club this spring.
Monday served as the deadline for MLB clubs to lock players into their 40-man rosters to eliminate them from the pool eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. Non-rostered players who signed when they were 19 or older and have played professional baseball for four years, and those who signed at 18 and have played for five years, can be taken in the Rule 5 process.
Chang, 22, appeared in 126 games for Double-A Akron last season, hitting .220/.312/.461 with 24 home runs, 24 doubles, five triples, 66 RBIs, 72 runs and 11 stolen bases. The right-handed batter has spent the entirey of his professional career as a shortstop and has turned in a .249/.325/.446 slash line over four seasons.
The 26-year-old Stamets -- acquired from the Angels in exchange for outfielder David Murphy in 2015 -- hit .259 with 16 homers, 26 doubles, 52 RBIs, 56 runs and 10 steals in 115 games last year between Double-A Akron and Columbus. Stamets, who can play multiple infield positions, posted a .357 slugging percentage from 2012-16, but saw that spike to .463 last year.
Merryweather, the Indians' No. 12 prospect, went 7-9 with a 5.32 ERA in 25 starts last year between Double-A and Triple-A. The 26-year-old right-hander had 128 strikeouts against 35 walks in 128 2/3 innings, and was much sharper at Double-A (3.38 ERA in nine starts) before moving up a level (6.58 ERA in 16 starts). Merryweather has a 3.92 ERA in four seasons in Cleveland's system.
Castro -- No. 9 on the Indians' Top 30 list -- is a switch-hitting, 20-year-old shortstop who spent all of last season with Class A Advanced Lynchburg. In 123 games, Castro hit .290/.337/.424 with 11 homers, 24 doubles, three triples, 58 RBIs, 69 runs and 19 stolen bases.
Refsnyder, 26, hit .170 (.463 OPS) in 52 games with the Yankees and Blue Jays last season, and posted a .320 average with an .869 OPS in 42 Triple-A games between the two organizations. He has spent parts of the past three seasons in the Majors, playing mostly corner outfield, second base and first base.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.