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Indians sign Chris Colabello to minor-league deal

The former Twin and Blue Jay has a legitimate shot at winning the first base job this spring.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Colabello has signed a minor league contract with the AL Champions, and will get an invitation to Spring Training, according to the Cleveland front office. If he is not in the Majors by June 1, according to Shi Davidi, he can opt to become a free agent.

Last year, Cleveland platooned left first base in the hands of Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana, but lost Napoli to free agency. If Colabello is healthy, he could provide a similar level of production from the right side for a lot less money.

Of course, his health is the wild card. Colabello struggled through a wrist injury in 2014 that tanked his production with the Twins, and was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for PEDs last year. He’s also going to be 33. But in 2015, he hit .321/.367/.520 with 15 homers in 360 plate appearances for the Blue Jays.

He provides almost no plate discipline and strikes out a ton, and is kind of an ugly hitter to watch, but if he can be even an average bat from first or DH, Cleveland shouldn’t see much of a decline from the position as they work to defend their title.