Tribe adds Mejia to 40-man, claims 2 off waivers

Club's No. 4 prospect protected from Rule 5 Draft; catcher Gimenez outrighted

November 18th, 2016
Francisco Mejia notched a 50-game hitting streak this season in Class A. (Lynchburg Hillcats)

The Indians have a fair share of decisions to make on their Major League roster as they prepare to defend their American League pennant. Before that, they made some key decisions Friday, adding slick-hitting catcher Francisco Mejia to their 40-man roster while claiming left-handed pitchers and off waivers.

The Indians, who had been at 38 players on their 40-man roster, created one more open spot by outrighting catcher .

Cleveland had to add Mejia to the roster or risk losing him in next month's Rule 5 Draft. Considering Mejia sits 84th on's overall list of top prospects, that decision was a no-brainer.

Mejia, the Tribe's No. 4 prospect, earned national acclaim for his 50-game hitting streak in Class A ball, the longest by a Minor League player in 62 years. He hit .342 (139-for-407) with 29 doubles, 11 home runs and 80 RBIs for the season between Class A Lake County and Class A Advanced Lynchburg. His batting average and .896 OPS led all Indians Minor Leaguers.

Escobar spent most of the season in the D-backs' system after Arizona claimed him off waivers from Boston in April. The 24-year-old pitched in 25 games for the D-backs, posting a 1-2 record with a 7.23 ERA in 23 2/3 innings while walking 12 and striking out 17. He also went 6-3 with a 4.25 ERA in 16 starts for Triple-A Reno.

Cooney, who will turn 26 on Dec. 19, missed the 2016 season following left shoulder surgery. He made six starts for the Cardinals in 2015, going 1-0 with a 3.16 ERA. He walked 10 and struck out 29. He also posted a 6-4 record and 2.74 ERA in 14 starts for Triple-A Memphis in 2015.

Gimenez provided badly needed catching experience for the Indians following his early May acquisition from Texas. While he helped fill the void left by ' midseason injury, the presence of a healthy Gomes with back and re-signed to a Minor League deal allowed the Indians the depth to make a move.