Tribe Tabs Righty Torres on Minor League Deal for Relief Depth

The Indians’ collection of arms grew by one more name on Wednesday as multiple reports indicated that Cleveland had added free agent right-hander Carlos Torres on a minor league deal with a non-roster invitation to spring training.

The deal with the 35-year-old Torres was pending a physical and had not yet been announced by the club.

The Indians, looking to buffer the losses of Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith from the team’s bullpen, still have a crowded camp of candidates in line for a limited number of opportunities to join the relief staff for 2018. With the departures of the two veteran right-handers, the Tribe still has Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Zach McAllister, and Dan Otero as known quantities. Nick Goody established himself as a reliable arm, while left-hander Tyler Olson threw 20 scoreless innings in 30 games after a mid-year call-up.

It leaves one to two jobs available, with those spots potentially up for grabs by the pitchers in battle for slots in the starting rotation, including righties Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin, and Mike Clevinger, and lefty Ryan Merritt, who is out of options.

Torres – Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Torres, a 6’1” righty, spent the last two seasons in the bullpen of the Milwaukee Brewers. He has been one of the more heavily used arms in the game over the last few years, appearing in 139 games for Milwaukee in his time with the club. He put up some of the best numbers of his career in his first season with the Brewers in 2016, posting a 2.73 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP with 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings and a career-low 7.1 hits per nine innings. Those numbers did not carry over into last season, when his walk rate and hit rate jumped and his strikeout rate dropped to the worst of his career. He was still able to eat up 72 2/3 innings in 67 games, but he posted a 4.21 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.

Over the last three seasons, Torres has logged the fourth-most innings of any reliever, working 212 2/3 total innings, six more than Shaw in that span in 30 fewer appearances. Torres has worked a 75.8% left-on-base percentage during that three-year window. Over the last two years, he has gotten away from his changeup, relying primarily on a cutter and curveball mix, while throwing in a four-seamer to complement. His average velocities on his cutter (92.6 MPH) was the best of his career, according to Fangraphs, while his breaking ball sat just above 80. His four-seam averaged in at 94 MPH.

Torres has spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors, first debuting in 2009 with the Chicago White Sox, the club that drafted him in the 15th round of the 2004 draft. He made 13 appearances (six starts) for Chicago in two seasons, but he pitched overseas in 2011 with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japan Central League. He returned stateside with the Colorado Rockies in 2012, splitting the year between Triple-A and the parent club, and then spent the next three seasons with the New York Mets organization. Prior to signing with the Brewers last season, he went to spring training with the Atlanta Braves, but was cut at the end of camp. He was non-tendered by Milwaukee following the 2017 season.

Torres joins a long list of arms in Goodyear vying for a place with the team. The Tribe has added right-handers Preston Claiborne, Stephen Fife, Evan Marshall, Alexi Ogando, and Neil Ramirez, and left-handers Jeff Beliveau, Adam Wilk, and Robert Zarate on minor league deals with camp invites this offseason.

Cleveland also extended invitations to its own minor leaguers Louis Head, Cameron Hill, Josh Martin, and Cole Sulser.

Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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