The Cleveland Indians announced on Thursday morning that the team had come to terms on a minor league contract with left-handed pitcher Robert Zarate, who last pitched professionally in 2015. He will join seven other Indians minor leaguers who were extended non-roster invitations to spring training next month.
In addition to Zarate, the Indians have invited position players Bobby Bradley, Nellie Rodriguez, and Richie Shaffer and right-handed pitchers Louis Head, Cameron Hill, Josh Martin, and Cole Sulser to play with the team during the spring.
The Indians now have 17 non-roster players scheduled to participate during spring camp in Goodyear, Arizona.
Six members total between the Akron RubberDucks and Columbus Clippers earned the honor of playing in their respective league’s All-Star Games this week and several took advantage of the opportunity on a big stage to shine.
The International League faced off with the Pacific Coast League on Wednesday night from Tacoma, Washington. A four-run fourth inning by the PCL All-Stars would prove to be too much for the IL squad to overcome in a 6-4 contest. Columbus’ Richie Shaffer was one of the players to best utilize his time as his performance for the losing squad earned him the league’s All-Star Game MVP award.
All-Star games are the theme of the week as one day after Major League Baseball hosted its annual Midsummer Classic and several days after top prospects united for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, both the International League and the Eastern League will play their respective games on Wednesday night.
The Indians’ top farm affiliate, the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, have just two representatives in Tacoma, Washington, for the Triple-A All-Star Game between the best of the International League and the Pacific Coast League. Richie Shaffer received the early invitation through voting, but middle infielder Eric Stamets was also asked to participate as a reserve.
Columbus outfielder Richie Shaffer was selected as the International League’s Player of the Week on Monday for his efforts the previous week from June 5 through June 11.
Shaffer, who spent the week in the lineup in left field, right field, and designated hitter, tallied a dozen hits in 30 trips to the plate over the course of the week and hit the ball well, putting up a .414/.433/.828 slash in seven games.
The home woes continued for the Columbus Clippers this week as their roster is light several of its steady contributors in recent seasons.
At 16-19, the Clippers are just a game and a half behind the first place Toledo Mud Hens and a game in back of the second place Indianapolis Indians in the International League’s West Division, despite a shaky start. They have played the second-fewest home games in the IL this season, with just a dozen contests at Huntington Park this season, but that could be a good thing as they have gone 3-9 when playing hosts.
The Columbus Clippers ended a three-game losing streak on Sunday with their best complete team outing of the season in an 8-0 victory over the Louisville Bats.
Mike Clevinger is keeping himself primed and ready in the Columbus rotation with back-to-back wins to start his season. His last pushed the team back over the .500 mark and ended Columbus’ longest losing skid of the young season. The Clippers (6-5) have won all three of his starts this season, but when anyone else has taken the mound, they are just 3-5.
The early season schedule has not provided a lot of variety for the Clippers, who have played the Louisville Bats eight times and the Indianapolis Indians three times. The first seven games of the season came on the road before hosting for the first time this season, but they will be back on the road for another week, heading to Lehigh Valley for three beginning Tuesday night and to Buffalo on Friday night for a three-game weekend set before returning home for the final six games of the month.
In other Clippers news and notes:
The start of Spring Training may be just a couple of weeks away, but Major League clubs are still hard at work at finalizing their rosters for camp. The Cleveland Indians made several such moves on Thursday, adding free agent left-handed reliever Boone Logan while finalizing a pair of waiver related issues.
The agreement with the 32-year-old southpaw Boone has not been confirmed or announced by the Tribe and a corresponding roster move will need to be made to create a spot on the 40-man roster for the lefty. His contract is reportedly worth a guaranteed $6.5 million – he is set to be paid $5.5 million for 2017 and his $7 million option for the 2018 season comes with a $1 million buyout.
Richie Shaffer must be feeling either really wanted or really unwanted. Regardless, the utility man was designated for assignment for the third time this offseason when the Cleveland Indians purchased right-handed reliever Carlos Frias from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.
Frias, who has appeared in parts of the last three seasons for the Dodgers and has been a member of their organization since 2007, is expected to contend for a spot in the Indians bullpen for the 2017 season. Shaffer’s fate is yet to be determined as the Indians will face the prospect of trying to trade the 25-year-old former first round pick or expose him to the waivers process once again.
For the fourth time in less than three months, corner infielder Richie Shaffer is on the move. His newest destination is Cleveland, as the Indians claimed him off of waivers from the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
In a corresponding roster move, the Indians have designated 26-year-old minor league first baseman Jesus Aguilar for assignment to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Shaffer.