The Cleveland Indians announced on Wednesday night that they have acquired outfielder Collin Cowgill from the Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations. In a corresponding roster move, reliever Nick Hagadone was not tendered a contract and has been designated for assignment, creating a spot on the 40-man roster for their new outfielder.
The 29-year-old Cowgill joins his fourth organization in four years. A former fifth round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2008 draft, he was traded in a five-player trade in December of 2011 to the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics traded him a little over a year later to the New York Mets, who traded him in late June, 2013, to the Angels for a minor leaguer.
He had been with the Angels organization for the last two and a half seasons.
The right-handed hitting Cowgill has appeared in parts of each of the last five seasons in Major League action. He is a lifetime .236 hitter with 12 homers and 57 RBI. He played in a career-high 106 games for the Angels in 2014. Last season, he appeared in 55 games, hitting .188 with a homer and two RBI. He missed much of the season rehabbing a sprained right wrist that did not heal as quickly as he and the club had hoped. He returned at the beginning of September and hit .250 in his final 20 games, but was limited to just eight at bats.
In addition to his game time with Los Angeles, he appeared in 14 games at the minor league level.
The versatile outfielder also missed time late in the 2014 season with fractures to his nose and right thumb.
Cowgill gives the Indians another option in an outfield with more question marks than certainty at present time. Starting left fielder Michael Brantley will miss the beginning of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, while Abraham Almonte and Lonnie Chisenhall, the club’s starting center and right fielders to end the 2015 season, both have minimal experience either at the MLB level or at their present positions.
The club has also signed Shane Robinson, who was with the Minnesota Twins last season, and Michael Choice, who was with the Texas Rangers prior to being acquired for cash by the Indians late last season, so far this offseason to compete for the open outfield jobs for the 2016 club.
The Indians’ new option, Cowgill, has seen significant time at all three outfield spots in his career. He has played 151 games in left, 64 in center, and 78 in right during his five years in the bigs with a career .991 fielding percentage.
Hagadone’s tenure with the Indians could be over. He had spent the past five years on the Indians roster. Last season, he was 0-1 with a 4.28 ERA in 36 games before his season came to an end due to an injury to his throwing arm that required surgery while he was rehabilitating a lower back strain. Surgery was performed at the end of July to stabilize the elbow and had a six- to nine-month recovery time attached to it.
The 29-year-old Hagadone was acquired by the Indians at the trade deadline in 2009 from Boston with pitchers Justin Masterson and Bryan Price for Victor Martinez.
The departure of Hagadone from the Tribe bullpen may open up opportunities for Kyle Crockett, Giovanni Soto, or both to make the club as left-handed options for Terry Francona, barring further moves from the team this offseason.
The Indians also announced that they have tendered contract offers to the six remaining arbitration-eligible players on the roster: Cody Allen, Josh Tomlin, Bryan Shaw, Jeff Manship, Zach McAllister, and Chisenhall.
Update: The Indians and Cowgill reportedly avoided arbitration and came to terms on a one-year, $1 million contract tender.
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