The Indians signed infielder Andy LaRoche to a minor league with an invitation to spring training. I also like these moves because adding guys with a little potential always makes spring training interesting. Once a top prospect in the Dodgers organization, LaRoche never panned out and now he’s 28. He had one decent year at Pittsburgh but outside of that, he’s been mostly used as a part timer. Last year he had a .654 OPS in 104 plate appearances and he didn’t have a single home run.
Jason Donald is LaRoche’s primary competition because he plays a lot of the same spots as the Indians utility infielder. Still, having a guy like LaRoche at Triple-A can be nice because he can fill in for a few different spots if someone goes down.
The Indians pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Cory Burns to the Padres and brought in outfielder Aaron Cunningham to the team. Cunningham has spent parts of four seasons as a part time outfielder for both the A’s and the Padres and he’ll most likely be the team’s fourth outfielder in 2012. He’s out of options so the minors is no longer one. His best season was 2010 when he had an OPS+ of 109. He’s a career .231 hitter but the Indians liked him because he can play both corner outfield spots.
Burns is a solid relief prospect so this wasn’t a give away. He struck out 70 in 59 2/3 innings for Double-A Akron last year and he has a career 188/35 strikeout to walk ratio with a 2.02 ERA in three seasons. He’s also been a closer at each spot and he has 88 career minor league saves.
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