GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Ryan Hanigan sat at his locker inside the Indians' clubhouse on Thursday morning, trying on a set of shin guards. The veteran had completed the physical that finalized his Minor League contract and was getting ready for Cleveland's first official workout for pitchers and catchers.
Hanigan is in camp with the Tribe as a non-roster invitee, but he can earn a base salary of $1.25 million in the Majors this season. For now, he gives the Indians an experienced backstop to help handle the many pitchers in the fold for the club at the outset of the preseason.
The Indians are not only set behind the plate with Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez, but they have a top catching talent in Francisco Mejia. Even with that being an area of perceived strength, depth for the catcher position is important for a long season.
Hanigan and Jack Murphy are in camp as non-roster invitees, joining Gomes, Perez, Mejia and Eric Haase among the catchers.
Hanigan, 37, has spent parts of 11 seasons in the Majors between stints with the Reds, Rays, Red Sox and Rockies. The veteran catcher has turned in a .251/.344/.334 slash line over his career with a 36 percent caught-stealing rate. Last season, Hanigan appeared in 17 games for Triple-A Albuquerque and 33 games for Colorado. With the Rockies, he hit .267 (.671 OPS) in 112 plate appearances.
Right now, Gomes and Perez project to split the catching duties for the Tribe.
Gomes, 30, caught the bulk of the innings for Cleveland last season and is signed through 2019 with team options for '20 and '21. The 29-year-old Perez moved into the No. 1 spot late in the season and is signed through '20 with club options for '21 and '22. Mejia, who is ranked as the Indians' No. 1 prospect and the No. 1 catching prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, spent the final month of the season with the Tribe last year.