CLEVELAND -- Having versatility and depth is a priority for the Indians each offseason. A pair of roster moves on Wednesday were made with both aspects in mind.The Indians signed free-agent outfielder Daniel Robertson to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big
CLEVELAND -- Having versatility and depth is a priority for the Indians each offseason. A pair of roster moves on Wednesday were made with both aspects in mind.
The Indians signed free-agent outfielder Daniel Robertson to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club. The Tribe also outrighted utility man Michael Martinez off the 40-man roster, but the team valued the defensive protection he provided last season and still hopes to keep him in the fold with a Minor League deal.
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The Indians' 40-man roster consists of 39 players.
At the moment, Cleveland's outfield projects to include Michael Brantley in left, Tyler Naquin in center and Lonnie Chisenhall in right, with the switch-hitting Abraham Almonte offering depth at each spot. Brantley is expected to be ready for Spring Training after right shoulder and biceps issues limited him to 11 games last season. The Indians are in the market for outfield help, and adding a versatile backup option like Robertson is always on the Tribe's radar.
In a 114-game stint with Triple-A Tacoma (Seattle) last season, the 31-year-old Robertson logged time at second base (38 games), left field (35), center field (29) and right (16). The right-handed-hitting outfielder appeared in 116 games across the 2014-16 seasons with the Rangers, Angels and Mariners. Robertson has hit .273 (.647 OPS) in his Major League career, while batting .304 (.739 OPS) against left-handed pitching.
While at Triple-A last year, Robertson hit .287 with 32 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and a .768 OPS with the Rainiers. He suited up for Seattle for nine games in July, batting .263 in that brief big league stint.
Martinez, 34, appeared in 59 of his 63 games last season with the Indians and offered a backup option for second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions. The switch-hitting Martinez hit .242 (.581 OPS) in his time with the Tribe -- he also had a four-game tour with the Red Sox in July before being reacquired -- and served as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement during the postseason.
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 listen to his podcast.