Transactions: Aviles Signs, NRI Overload

Rob Carr

The Indians extend their of not going to arbitration to 22 years by signing Mike Aviles to a 2-year deal with an option. Also, NRIs, lots and lots of NRIs!

Signed IF Mike Aviles to a 2 Year, $6M Extension with a 2015 Option ($3.5M)

Apparently the Indians and Aviles were at an impasse regarding 2013's salary, with the two clubs $1M apart (Indians $2.4M, Aviles $3.4M). So the Indians decided to go for a two-year deal that about splits the difference in annual salary:

"We thought that it made sense to provide [Aviles] with some security and get us some cost certainty for the next few years," Antonetti said. "That was the motivating factor behind the deal."

It may seem odd that Aviles is now one of the few Indians signed to a multi-year contract given that at this point he's not going to starting on Opening Day, but even as a reserve Aviles can give the Indians some good value. If the Indians lose Lonnie Chisenhall, Asdrubal Cabrera, or Jason Kipnis for extended periods of time, Aviles can step into any one of those positions and give the Indians at least decent production. Given that positional flexibility, he should get semi-regular playing time. Also, if the Indians decide that this year is the time to trade Asdrubal Cabrera (because either he's not a viable shortstop or another team gives them an offer that they can't refuse), Aviles could bridge the gap between Cabrera and Juan Diaz (and eventually Francisco Lindor). They also a team option for 2015, allowing them to have control over Aviles one year beyond free agency.

Now, for the NRIs the Indians have been doling out over the past couple weeks.

Invited RHP Matt Langwell, RHP Preston Guilmet, LHP Giovanni Soto, 1B Jesus Aguilar, and C Roberto Perez to Spring Training

These are all players in the Cleveland minor-league system. None really have much a chance to make the big-league club, but I could see a couple players making an appearance in Cleveland at some point.

Langwell spent the entire 2012 in Columbus and was good in 32 appearances in relief. He's going to be 27 this year, though he seems to have turned a corner of late; in addition to the regular season success with the Clippers, he also pitched well in Winter Ball (Puerto Rico), which includes several major-league players.

Guilmet is younger (25) and hasn't pitched in Columbus yet, but has impressive in each of his last three minor-league seasons.

Soto is a left-handed starter that has shown some signs of success, including a no-hitter last season in Akron. It's probably more likely he reaches the majors as a reliever than a starter.

Aguilar jumped from marginal prospect to prospect with his showing last season in Carolina and Akron, improving his plate discipline while not sacrificing power. He'll probably start the season in Akron.

Perez seems like a backup catcher prospect; he's been very proficient at throwing runners out and other defensive aspects of the game, but he hasn't done much with his bat.

Signed RHP Matt Capps, C Omir Santos, OF Jeremy Hermida, and LHP Rich Hill to minor-league contracts; Invited them to Spring Training

These would have been high-profile signings 3-4 years ago, but now, not so much.

Hermida once upon a time was one of the best prospects in baseball, and had some early success with the Marlins, but since 2008 he's slowly fallen off to a AAAA outfielder. Should do good things with the Clippers, but if he's playing appreciable time in Cleveland, something went wrong.

Capps has a chance of making the team. He's been given the closer job on several different clubs and failed, but I think he could be a serviceable middle reliever if managed correctly.

Hill might have the best shot of anyone in this group of making the club. He's a left-hander who pitcher well last September with Boston, and the Indians don't really have a left-hander on their roster that's had major-league success. I'd favor Nick Hagadone (or even Scott Kazmir) over Hill, but it's an open competition.

Santos hit well between Colorado Springs (Colorado) and Toledo (Detroit) last year, and should be a great addition to the Clippers' Governors Cup title run.

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