The Sporting News, ESPN and other outlets are reporting the Cleveland Indians have reached a minor league deal with slugger Melky Cabrera. As Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com wrote on Tuesday, “It’s been confirmed that they’ve reached a minor league deal with veteran switch-hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera, who like many free agents this past winter went unsigned. Cabrera, 33, must pass his physical for the deal to go through.”
If Cabrera passes his physical, he’ll report to extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz. He’s expected to stay there for about a week and then report to Class AAA Columbus. From there it will be up to him on if and when he’s promoted to the big leagues.
Melky Cabrera has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals. While primarily a left fielder throughout his career, Cabrera spent a significant amount of his playing time as a center fielder for the Royals and Yankees.
Much like the deal slugger and former Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista signed with the Atlanta Braves, adding a slugger to the middle of the Cleveland Indians lineup should impact the American League Central division race.
The Cleveland Indians are 12-8 so far this season, two games ahead of the Minnesota Twins.
“The Indians have a good read on Cabrera because he’s spent the last three years playing against them with AL Central foes Chicago and Kansas City. Last year he hit .285 (177-for-620) with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and Royals,” Hoynes added.
Melky Cabrera was signed by the New York Yankees on November 14, 2001, at age 17, receiving a $175,000 signing bonus. He played for the Staten Island Yankees in the Class A Short-Season New York–Penn League in 2003, batting .283 with 31 runs batted in (RBIs) in 67 games. In 2004, he was promoted to the Battle Creek Yankees of the Class A Midwest League, hitting .333 with 16 RBIs in 42 games. He was promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League, where he hit .288 with 51 RBIs in 85 games to finish the season.
Per E.Jay Zarett of The Sporting News, Cabrera will receive $1 million plus another $1 million in incentives if he makes Cleveland’s major league roster, according to a report by MLB Insider Jon Heyman.