The moves continue: The Cleveland Indians traded for veteran reliever Dan Otero on Friday, and designated outfielder Jerry Sands for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Otero, 30, was acquired for cash from the Philadelphia Phillies. He had been claimed off waivers from Oakland back in early November. San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser wrote about Otero’s popularity in the Athletics clubhouse, where he pitched from 2013-15. He is entering his final season of pre-arbitration eligibility in 2016.
A right-hander, he has a career 3.46 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 29 walks in 184.2 innings pitched. He was very effective for the A’s as they made the playoffs in both 2013 and 2014. But he struggled mightily last year with a 6.75 ERA, and even pitched in 15 games back in Triple-A Nashville.
The Indians already had signed Joba Chamberlain, Felipe Paulino, and Joe Thatcher to minor league deals this offseason. They also re-signed Jarrett Grube, a 34-year-old starter who went 9-0 with a 2.26 ERA for Columbus last season. There is no such thing as too much pitching and the over-working of the Indians main bullpen guys over the past few seasons leaves some cause for concern.
Perhaps none of these five guys make an impact on the 2016 Cleveland Indians. But Thatcher, especially, and Otero and Chamberlain – to a lesser degree – have pretty decent sample sizes of bullpen success. So, if just one has a breakout season (2014 Scott Atchison and 2015 Jeff Manship jump to mind), then the added value would still be hugely helpful.
Sands, 28, was a bit of a cult hero with the Indians in 2015 (as chants of Jerry in the stands can attest). He only batted .236/.286/.390 in 50 games, but made his mark early in the season with a four RBI game in his debut on April 11.
It was a bit of numbers game with Sands as the Indians already added outfielders Davis, Joey Butler and Collin Cowgill to the 40-man roster this offseason. Sands is a career .268/.357/.492 hitter in 439 Triple-A games, so he’ll certainly land another opportunity somewhere else. But we’ll have this moment to cherish. Thanks, Jerry.
Awesome moment early in the season pic.twitter.com/OxcE8WJw47
— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) April 11, 2015