The Indians have agreed to a minor-league deal with outfielder Melky Cabrera, as confirmed by MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi on Monday.
Cabrera, 33, went unsigned all winter despite posting a .285/.324/.423 line in 156 games for the White Sox and Royals in 2017. He was linked to the Marlins, Royals and Pirates at times, but joined recent Braves signee Jose Bautista, Matt Holliday, Brandon Phillips and other veteran hitters on the unemployed list well into the beginning of the season.
Cabrera appeared at both corner outfield spots for Chicago and Kansas City last year, so he’ll provide the Tribe with an option behind Michael Brantley, Tyler Naquin, Rajai Davis and Brandon Guyer.
Brantley and Naquin have performed well at the plate so far this year, but rough showings from Guyer, Davis, Lonnie Chisenhall and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion have caused the team to search for offense early in the year. Before signing Cabrera, Cleveland made the highest offer to Bautista before he signed with the Braves, as we reported last week.
The Indians are OPSing just .657 as a team, which is good for the fifth-worst mark in baseball, behind only the Marlins, Reds, Orioles and Padres. While Cabrera is no sure bet entering his age-33/34 season, he’ll likely get a chance in the majors at some point soon.