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Indians Acquire Reliever Yates from Rays, Designate Choice

Indians Acquire Reliever Yates from Rays, Designate Choice

| On 25, Nov 2015

The Cleveland Indians announced on Wednesday afternoon that the team had acquired reliever Kirby Yates from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Indians designated outfielder Michael Choice for assignment. The team has ten days to trade or release him or send him outright to the minors, if he passes through waivers unclaimed.

Like Yates, Choice was acquired by Cleveland late last season for cash.

Yates had been designated for assignment by the Rays on November 20th, when he and three other Rays players were bumped off of the team’s 40-man roster to make room for prospects ahead of the Rule 5 draft next month.

The 28-year-old right-hander and Tommy John survivor becomes an option for the Indians to consider in relief. The team currently has Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Zach McAllister, Jeff Manship, Austin Adams, and Shawn Armstrong on the 40-man roster as right-handed bullpen options, with the latter two having minimal experience in their Major League careers. Josh Tomlin could also factor in as an option if not placed in the starting rotation, as could Joseph Colon, a career minor leaguer with the Indians who re-signed with the club on a minor league pact with an invite to spring training this offseason.

Yates, who is a native of Hawaii and attended Yavapai College, had spent his entire professional career in the Tampa Bay organization. He signed with the club as an amateur free agent in 2009 and made his Major League debut in June of 2014 at the age of 27. He appeared in 37 games that season, posting an 0-2 record with a 3.75 ERA while earning his first and only career save.

He struggled last season, going 1-0 with a 7.97 ERA in 20 games. In 20 1/3 innings, he gave up ten home runs and 18 earned runs in total, proving to be costly to his overall success. Two of those home runs came in consecutive appearances against the Indians, as Yan Gomes hit a solo shot against him on June 29th and David Murphy hit a two-run shot the next day. He was demoted to the minors for the second of three times during the season following the latter game against the Tribe.

Choice, a 26-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder, has spent parts of the last three seasons in the Majors between Oakland and Texas. He was limited to just one at bat – a strikeout – this season. He was named the MVP of the International League’s Governor’s Cup Finals for the Columbus Clippers after going 9-for-14 with three homers during the postseason play.

Photo: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports