Indians Invite Two More Players to Spring Training
Bob Toth | On 23, Jan 2018
The guest list for the Cleveland Indians at spring training next month grew by two more names on Monday as the team announced that left-handed pitcher Adam Wilk and catcher Jack Murphy have agreed to minor league deals with the club.
The pair of newest members to the organization increases the Tribe’s total number of non-roster invitees heading to Goodyear, Arizona, in February to 19.
Wilk, a 30-year-old southpaw, joins his seventh club since his 2009 selection by the Detroit Tigers in the eleventh round of the draft. He started last season in the New York Mets’ organization and made one start for the parent club, but was claimed on waivers by the Minnesota Twins after being designated for assignment. He suited up three times with the Twins, making one start and one relief appearance against the Indians, and finished the year with an 0-2 record with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.36 WHIP. He was 3-3 with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in nine minor league outings (eight starts) during the year.
Wilk spent his first four pro seasons with the Tigers and was on the fast track through Detroit’s farm system. He made five relief appearances in 2011 in his Major League debut season and earned three starting nods in 2012. He spent 2013 in Korea before returning to the pro circuit with Pittsburgh’s Triple-A club in 2014. He worked the majority of 2015 with the Los Angeles Angels’ Triple-A team, but made one relief appearance at the MLB level before spending the 2016 season in the minors with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Wilk’s contract would pay him $560,000 if he makes the club out of spring training. The deal, first reported by USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale, also includes an opt-out at the end of March.
Cleveland also added minor league catching insurance in the switch-hitting 29-year-old Murphy, who joins the Indians organization after spending the last two years in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system.
Murphy was a 31st round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2009 draft out of Princeton University. He made a slow climb through the Jays’ system, with limited action during many of those years, before reaching the Triple-A level for the first time in 2013. He appeared in three games there that season and was back with Buffalo for eleven more games in 2014, but spent the remainder of the year and all of the next year at Double-A with New Hampshire. He joined the Dodgers in 2016, spending that season with their Triple-A Oklahoma City affiliate. He was with the same club for all but ten days of the 2017 season, when he worked briefly with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.
Murphy, who also spent four winters playing in the Australian Baseball League, was a teammate in Oklahoma City with utility man Drew Maggi, who was one of the first additions by the Indians this offseason.
In other Indians-related news of the day, free agent outfielder Austin Jackson has moved on, as has been the case for the rest of the Tribe’s free agents this offseason, as he came to terms on a contract with the San Francisco Giants. The 30-year-old eight-year veteran, who was similarly went to spring training on a non-roster invitation last season, contributed at a high level for the Indians in his lone season with the club in 2017. He began in a platoon role, but eventually saw significant playing time filling in for an injury-depleted outfield that lost Michael Brantley, Brandon Guyer, and Bradley Zimmer late in the season.
Jackson reportedly agreed to a two-year deal worth $6 million that also included several performance-related incentives.
Chris Gimenez, who spent last season as a backup catcher and spot reliever for the Minnesota Twins, signed a minor league deal with a spring training invitation with the Chicago Cubs. The 35-year-old backstop was in the Indians organization from 2004 to 2010 before returning in 2014 and 2016 in swaps with the Texas Rangers.
Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images