MLB News: Indians sign free agent first baseman David Cooper

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.

[Related: The requisite Jacoby Ellsbury and Michael Bourn contract comparison]

  • Kildawg

    Does signing Cooper mean the Indians are going to trade Bourn, with Swisher moving to RF, Brantley to CF and Murphburn platoon to LF? I understand giving the guy a shot, but a Major League deal is a bit puzzling since Swisher and Santana can play 1B.

  • nj0

    Unlikely. From what I have read, the major league deal just means that he will be on the 40-man roster not the 25-man active roster. He will most likely spend time at AAA to start the season. This is (most likely) not a harbinger for any type of major trade (which I assumed at first as well).

    I’m guessing the Indians had to offer him a Major League deal over a minor league one because other teams were interested in him. This way, he gets a guaranteed contract and we don’t lose him to some other team.

  • woofersus

    Maybe he was getting a lot of interest and a major league contract is what it took to bring him here. We can still send him to AAA, but he’ll get paid regardless.

  • woofersus

    Lol, beat me to it.

  • nj0

    Guess I just type faster.

  • Kildawg

    That could be closer to the actual plan, but I still think a trade is in the works.

  • Kildawg

    True. Had to be fun blocking the Rays. They have a need at 1B and Cooper would have been a typical Rays signing as well.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    He could be the next Matt LaPorta, but the minor league numbers are solid, as are the numbers in his brief stint in the majors. I wonder why Toronto gave up on him so easily?

  • markn95

    Looks like a a pretty good power bat, just based on his minor league numbers. Even his brief major league career numbers look good. Really wonder why the jays gave up on him, particularly when you consider his pedigree (1st round pick) and age. Maybe the “mid-bnack strain” injury was a lot more serious than it sounds.