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Indians sign Jeremy Hermida

Cleveland inks the veteran outfielder to a minor-league deal.

Jim Rogash

The Cleveland Indians have signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida to a minor-league contract, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN:

Hermida, still just 29, was once billed as one of baseball's top prospects (ranked No. 4 overall by Baseball America prior to the 2006 season). But the lefty slugger has fallen on hard times in recent years, appearing in just 116 big-league games over the past three seasons while battling injuries and a swiftly declining power stroke.

Hermida spent the first five seasons of his career with the Marlins, hitting a solid .265/.344/.425 with 57 home runs through 2009. His numbers began to fade in his final year in Miami, however, and they never improved as he bounced around to the Red Sox, Athletics, and Reds.

He finally ended up in a bench role with the San Diego Padres last season, but lasted only 13 games before a sports hernia operation sidelined him for most of the season. Hermida finished the year with the Friar's Triple-A squad, batting .252/.318/.358 with three home runs in 44 games.

Hermida has a lot of competition for the role as the Tribe's fourth or fifth outfielder -- primarily with Ben Francisco and Tim Fedroff -- so his chances of making the active roster out of the gate are pretty slim. Entering his ninth year of big-league ball, Hermida is a .257/.334/.415 lifetime hitter in 632 games.