Despite having already added to their outfield mix this offseason (signing David Murphy to a two year deal and re-signing Ryan Raburn), the Cleveland Indians are still expected to tender a contract to Drew Stubbs prior to Monday night’s non-tender deadline. Stubbs’ future with the organization remains in question but the team has no plans to simply release him, according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian.
It remains to be seen, however, how the team will share playing time in right field should Stubbs still be on the roster come Opening Day.
Acquired last winter as part of the return received for dealing Shin Soo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds, Stubbs went on to have a disappointing year in Cleveland. He’d bat just .233/.305/.360 in 481 PA, striking out 141 times. The Indians, according to Bastian, still believe he brings value to the table given his unique skill set. Stubbs stole 17 bases in 2013 (down from 30 the year prior) but also offers a great deal of defensive versatility, as he has the range to cover all three outfield positions if needed despite spending the bulk of his career in center field.
He was supplanted in center this past season once the team elected to bring in Michael Bourn as a free agent. Bourn and Michael Brantley have solidified two of the team’s starting outfield spots and it’s expected that Murphy will likely come into camp as the favorite to win the role in right field. Raburn, who the team re-signed before the playoffs concluded, can also spell a number of the team’s infielders which makes it a little easier to work him into the lineup.
Cleveland could be on the hook for Stubbs’ salary in 2014 – projected to be in the neighborhood of $3.9 Million – if they don’t elect to move him between now and the start of the season. One would expect him to offer some value to an opposing team in need of a more stable outfield, but he doesn’t bring much to the table offensively. Acquiring him from Cleveland won’t come cheap, though he could certainly be a more affordable option than some of the readily available free agents on the market.