Indians rumors: Drew Stubbs will be offered a contract

Jason Miller

A look at which players on the Indians are arbitration-eligible and must either be tendered a contract or let go by midnight Monday

Drew Stubbs appears to be the off man out in the Indians outfield for 2014, but the team is still expected to extend him a contract offer in advance of Monday night's non-tender deadline.

The Indians have already signed David Murphy to be the primary right fielder, and Ryan Raburn (signed to a cheap deal through 2015) looks like an ideal platoon-mate for Murphy. With Michael Bourn and Michael Brantley firmly in place for the other two spots, pinch running is just about the only role left for Stubbs, unless someone gets injured. There's nothing wrong with insuring for that possibility, but the roster spot and probable cost (Stubbs is likely to earn ~$4 million in 2014) are a lot to commit to someone in that role, who otherwise doesn't appear likely to start more than once every week or two.

Even so, it makes sense to offer Stubbs a contract, because someone will his skill set will likely have trade value to a team looking for a relatively-cheap starting center fielder or the right-handed half of a platoon (he's reportedly already drawn interest from other teams). He might bring back a helpful bullpen arm, or a B-grade prospect. Nothing special, but something worth acquiring when you've got the opportunity, as the Indians probably will later this offseason.

Here are Stubbs numbers from recent years:

Year Age Tm G PA 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
2011 26 CIN 158 681 22 3 15 40 10 63 205 .243 .321 .364 86
2012 27 CIN 136 544 13 2 14 30 7 42 166 .213 .277 .333 63
2013 28 CLE 146 481 21 2 10 17 2 44 141 .233 .305 .360 90

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

Stubbs is one of many arbitration-eligible players on whom the Tribe must make a decision. Some of them are obviously going to be kept, because they're in line for key roles in 2014, such as Justin Masterson (likely ~$10 million), MIchael Brantley (~$4M), and Marc Rzepczynski (~$1.5M). Vinnie Pestano (~$1.5M) and Josh Tomlin (~$1M) are both looking to return from injury, and come at such low cost relative to their possible contribution that I'd be very surprised to see them non-tendered.

Relievers Blake Wood and Frank Herrmann don't look like key pieces, and may not make the 25-man roster, so it wouldn't surprise me if either of them was non-tendered, but they're also each going to cost no more than $700-800 thousand, so it also wouldn't surprise me if they're kept. Lou Marson is the one player I expect to be non-tendered. Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana give the Indians great options at catcher, and a third backstop simply isn't worth the $1 to 1.5 million Marson would likely cost through arbitration.

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