Narveson Becomes Newest Name to Join Cleveland’s Lefty Collection

When the Cleveland Indians added left-hander Andrew Miller at the trade deadline last season, it provided relief for a notable hole in their bullpen. This offseason, the Tribe has added to that southpaw selection several times and did so once again this week by signing veteran lefty Chris Narveson to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training.

Narveson becomes the fourth left-hander added to the squad in the last two weeks. The Indians made a big splash with the surprise acquisition of Boone Logan on a one-year deal with a club option at the beginning of the month, and has since added free agents Luis Perez, James Russell, and Narveson. The team also brought in former St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Tim Cooney through a waiver claim in November and selected southpaw Hoby Milner in the Rule 5 draft in December.

Logan would appear to be locked in as a second lefty in manager Terry Francona‘s bullpen behind Miller. With one to two open spots remaining on the relief staff, the above lefty candidates will join returning relief options Kyle Crockett and Tyler Olson from the left side and a long list of right-handed options. Southpaw starters Ryan Merritt and Shawn Morimando could factor into the bullpen mix, but it would appear far more likely that both remain in starting roles for the organization.

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Narveson turned 35 in December. He was selected out of high school in the second round of the 2000 draft by the Cardinals. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies in 2004 as part of the return for outfielder Larry Walker and then to the Boston Red Sox in March of 2005 before returning to the St. Louis organization in August of that season on a waiver claim. He made his Major League debut for the club in September of 2006, working in five games (one start) after working almost exclusively as a starting pitcher during his seven seasons in the minors.

He joined the Milwaukee organization as a free agent following the 2007 season and would log the bulk of his Major League experience in a Brewers uniform over the next seven years. In five seasons of work at the MLB level for Milwaukee, he was 26-18 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 62 starts and 30 relief appearances. He made 28 starts in each of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, winning 12 games in 2010 and 11 the following year.

Narveson spent the 2014 season in Japan with Yakult. He has split time between the Marlins’ Triple-A New Orleans affiliate and Miami over each of the last two seasons. Despite appearing in 19 of his 30 minor league outings over the last two years as a starter, he has made just two of his last 21 Major League appearances in a starting role. He was 4-1 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP for the Marlins in those 21 outings with 38 strikeouts and eleven walks, but ten homers allowed, in 38 2/3 innings.

Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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