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MLB News: Indians sign former first-round pick David Cooper

The Cleveland Indians have announced that they have signed first baseman David Cooper to a minor league contract.

Cooper, 26, split the 2012 season between Triple-A Las Vegas and the Toronto Blue Jays. He began the year in Las Vegas where he hit .314 (82-261) with 27  doubles, 10 home runs and 52 runs batted in in 62 games before being promoted to Toronto in May. With the Blue Jays, Cooper hit .300 (42-140) with 11 doubles, four home runs and 11 runs batted in through 45 games. His 2012 campaign ended in late August due to a mid-back strain, an injury that led to his March 2013 release from Toronto and required surgery in April.

The Stockton, CA native is a career .301 (593-1972) hitter in the Minor Leagues and over two Major League seasons with Toronto in 2011-12 he batted .270 (57-211) with 18 doubles, six home runs and 23 runs batted in. The left-handed hitting first baseman led the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.364) and doubles (51) for AAA Las Vegas in 2011. He was Toronto’s first round pick (17th overall) in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and played collegiately at Cal State Fullerton and the University of California.

David has reported to the Goodyear (AZ) Player Development Complex and will eventually be assigned to the Triple-A Columbus squad.

[Related: Searching for perspective on the 2013 Indians]

  • Harv 21

    pretty standard Antonetti/Shapiro move to try and find lightning in a bottle with physically talented but failed former first round position players. Seems like they pluck one from the discard bin every year on the off-chance a late change of scenery might be the ticket.

    Hasn’t worked yet but whatever, costs next to nothing. You have to try something when your farm system isn’t exactly cranking them out.

  • nj0

    They pretty much did that with Kearns in 2010 and flipped him into Zach McAllister. Unless you were talking about his 2011 tenure…

  • Harv 21

    I’m thinking of a stream of physically talented guys, most of whom didn’t stick and whom I can no longer remember. Jeremy Burnitz was the first in the 90s after the Mets gave up on him, and he did well elsewhere though I never liked his game. Was remembering Aaron Cunningham a few years ago but don’t think he was a first rounder, just a once very promising minor leaguer. Wish we had our own Darwinian thing at multiple positions, like the way Kipnis had to scratch past Cord Phelps. It’s more like our system has one third baseman, one shortstop …

  • nj0

    We’ve got plenty of SS in the lower levels now, but I get what you mean. Way our farm system has been, having one guy at a position is a blessing.

  • kylekylekyle

    Why would this not be a good move as he had over a .300 average in minors and then moved up to the majors and had stats like this, “2011-12 he batted .270 (57-211) with 18 doubles, six home runs and 23 runs batted in.” Not sure why Toronto would even give up on that potential.

  • FearTheRoo

    My thinking as well. If he was really that good, why would Toronto let him go and nobody but Cleveland pick him up? They must know something we don’t…

  • Harv 21

    per PD today, he’s coming off very significant back surgery, removal of disc and insertion of titanium rod. Interesting that he’s confident enough that there’s a contract provision with the Indians permitting him to opt out in September if he’s not called up to the majors. At least he thinks he’s good to go.

    Just guessing that a rod in his lower back makes him more likely a DH than a regular first baseman.