Transactions: Indians Sign Ryan Raburn and Ben Francisco to Minor-League Deals

Let's Go (Current) Tribe - Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

The Indians have signed a couple "premium" minor-league free agents.

From Jordan Bastian:

Cleveland signed utility man Ryan Raburn and outfielder Ben Francisco to Minor League contracts, which include invitations to attend Spring Training with the big league club. Raburn and Francisco will come into camp as candidates for backup roles with the Tribe.

Both players should be familiar to Indians fans. Raburn spent his entire major-league career with the Tigers, and was a regular in 2010 and 2011. He started 2012 as Detroit's everyday second baseman, but an awful slump cost him first his starting job, then a spot on the 25-man roster. He was released by the Tigers in early November, and didn't get any major-league contract offers. As recently as 2011 he was a league-average hitter, and had two consecutive good to outstanding seasons (2009-2010) as a key reserve. Raburn will 32 years old this season, and would be eligible for major-league free agency after the season if he spends 6 weeks or so on the 25-man roster (not that that's really going to matter). Raburn will be in camp to contend for a spot on the bench; he's played considerable innings both at second based and the corner outfield spots; he has also played some third base and first base in the majors. Historically he's hit better against left-handers than right-handers, especially in the power department.

Ben Francisco of course was with the Indians from 2007-2009, going with Cliff Lee to Philadelphia in July of '09. Since then he's been a fourth/platoon outfielder with the Phillies, Blue Jays, Astros, and ended last year with Tampa Bay. He was non-tendered in November, and like with Raburn, obviously couldn't find a team offering a major-league deal. With both Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs on the roster, the fourth outfielder wouldn't necessarily have to be able to play center, so Francisco could get that spot or even serve as a fifth outfielder if the Indians only go with one backup middle infielder. Francisco has made a career of hitting left-handed pitching, and if he makes the club, that's what he would be doing Francisco actually hits right-handed pitching better than left-handed, so he would used as a general backup, whether it be in the outfield or even an occasional start as DH. Francisco is also less than a year of service away from free agency, so if sticks on the 25-man roster from Opening Day, he would go back on the market after the season.

Ryan Raburn Major-League Statistics

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2004 23 DET 12 31 4 4 1 0 0 2 15 .138 .194 .172 .366 -1
2007 26 DET 49 148 28 42 12 2 4 8 33 .304 .340 .507 .847 118
2008 27 DET 92 199 26 43 10 1 4 16 49 .236 .298 .368 .666 75
2009 28 DET 113 291 44 76 11 2 16 26 60 .291 .359 .533 .891 130
2010 29 DET 113 410 54 104 25 1 15 27 92 .280 .340 .474 .814 118
2011 30 DET 121 418 53 99 22 2 14 21 114 .256 .297 .432 .729 96
2012 31 DET 66 222 14 35 14 0 1 13 53 .171 .226 .254 .480 30
7 Yrs 566 1719 223 403 95 8 54 113 416 .256 .311 .430 .740 96
162 Game Avg. 162 492 64 115 27 2 15 32 119 .256 .311 .430 .740 96
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/21/2013.

Ben Francisco Major-League Statistics

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2007 25 CLE 25 66 10 17 5 0 3 3 19 .274 .303 .500 .803 107
2008 26 CLE 121 499 65 119 32 0 15 40 86 .266 .332 .438 .770 105
2009 27 TOT 126 459 58 104 30 1 15 38 83 .257 .332 .447 .779 106
2009 27 CLE 89 355 48 77 21 1 10 33 59 .250 .336 .422 .758 103
2009 27 PHI 37 104 10 27 9 0 5 5 24 .278 .317 .526 .843 117
2010 28 PHI 88 197 24 48 13 0 6 14 35 .268 .327 .441 .768 104
2011 29 PHI 100 293 24 61 10 1 6 33 42 .244 .340 .364 .704 94
2012 30 TOT 82 207 14 46 14 1 4 13 49 .240 .285 .385 .670 83
2012 30 TOT 51 117 9 25 10 1 2 8 26 .234 .282 .402 .684 87
2012 30 TOR 27 54 5 12 5 1 0 4 10 .240 .296 .380 .676 82
2012 30 HOU 31 90 5 21 4 0 2 5 23 .247 .289 .365 .654 77
2012 30 TBR 24 63 4 13 5 0 2 4 16 .228 .270 .421 .691 91
6 Yrs 542 1721 195 395 104 3 49 141 314 .257 .326 .425 .751 101
162 Game Avg. 162 514 58 118 31 1 15 42 94 .257 .326 .425 .751 101
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/21/2013.



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