The Cleveland Indians have announced that they have signed free agent first baseman David Cooper to a major league contract. The contract is reported to be for one year.
Cooper, 26, was originally signed by Cleveland on August 13th and appeared in 13 games between the Tribe’s rookie Arizona League club and Triple-A Columbus to finish out the 2013 campaign. The former first-round draft pick split the 2012 season between Triple-A Las Vegas and the Toronto Blue Jays, beginning 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 where he hit .300 (42-140) with 11 doubles, 4 home runs 11 runs batted in through 45 games with the Blue Jays. 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 prior to signing with the Indians.
The Stockton, California native is a career .301 (593-1972) hitter in the Minor Leagues and over two Major League seasons with Toronto. The left-handed hitting Cooper led the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.364) and doubles (51) for AAA Las Vegas in 2011 and owns a career Minor League batting average of .301. 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.
Due to Cooper’s injury history, he is yet to have one full year of service time. Reports are that he will not be arbitration eligible until after 2016 or eligible for free agency until after 2019.