Tribe Adds Catcher Rupp on Minor League Deal

The Indians announced a rare offseason move on Friday, as the club has come to an agreement on a minor league deal with free agent catcher Cameron Rupp. The contract includes a non-roster invitation to spring training, which begins a week from today.

Rupp’s name is added to the usual long list of catchers who will be in camp auditioning for a job for the Indians organization or elsewhere. In addition to starting catcher Roberto Perez and offseason trade acquisition Sandy Leon, the Indians added minor league catcher Beau Taylor on a non-roster invitation and also extended invites to prospects Kungkuan Giljegiljaw (formerly known as Li-Jen Chu) and Gavin Collins.

Rupp is the 20th player in camp for the Indians on a non-roster invite.

A third round pick in the 2010 draft by Philadelphia, the 31-year-old Rupp has been on the move since being released at the end of spring training in 2018 by the Phillies after eight years with the club. He spent parts of five of those seasons at the big league level with the parent Phillies, hitting .234 with a .298 on-base percentage and a .407 slugging mark over 296 games with 57 doubles, 39 homers, and 124 RBI. He appeared in as many as 105 games for the club in 2016 during a three-year stretch of consistent work for the club behind the plate.

After being cut in camp in 2018, he spent the season in the minors playing at the Triple-A level for Texas, Minnesota, and Seattle, while putting together a .223/.320/.425 triple slash over 86 games with 11 doubles, 15 homers, and 44 RBI.

Rupp signed with the San Francisco Giants ahead of the 2019 season, but he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in early March. He was released by the Tigers’ Triple-A Toledo affiliate in the middle of May and he moved on to the Oakland Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate, where he spent the remainder of the minor league slate. Between his two stops last season, he worked in 58 total games, posting a .226/.326/.441 slash with ten doubles, ten homers, and 23 RBI.

Rupp is just the fourth player to join the Indians organization this winter via free agency (excluding reliever James Hoyt, who was non-tendered before re-signing with the Tribe). Infielder Cesar Hernandez signed a one-year deal in December to take over the second base duties on the club. Fellow catcher Taylor signed a minor league deal with the team in November with a non-roster invite to spring training, and two weeks ago, reliever Dominic Leone signed a similar pact after pitching last season with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

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