CLEVELAND (AP) – The Indians made another move to remodel their bullpen, adding a pitcher with a name seemingly suited for his role.
Cleveland acquired Josh Outman on Wednesday from the Colorado Rockies in a trade for outfielder Drew Stubbs. The left-handed Outman is the newest member to Cleveland’s revamped bullpen, which has seen All-Star closer Chris Perez released and free agent right-handers Joe Smith and Matt Albers sign elsewhere this offseason.
Outman joined the Indians just as the club was trying to finalize a deal with new closer John Axford. He agreed to terms with the Indians on a one-year, $4.5 million contract earlier this week but had to pass a physical. The Indians could announce Axford’s signing as early as Thursday.
The 29-year-old Outman spent most of last season with the Rockies, going 3-0 with a 4.33 ERA in 61 relief appearances. Outman limited left-handed hitters to a .198 average and had a 3.41 ERA in hitter-friendly Coors Field.
The Indians had issues getting out left-handers last season, a reason they acquired Marc Rzepczynski from St. Louis before the trade deadline. Outman will apparently replace lefty Rich Hill, who is a free agent and unlikely to re-sign with Cleveland.
General manager Chris Antonetti said filling holes in the bullpen is an almost annual reality.
“You’re going to have some turnover from year to year,” he said. “Our job is to piece together the best bullpen we can, and we feel like we’ve made progress doing that . We’re better than we were at the start of the offseason.”
Outman has a 12-11 career record with a 4.61 ERA 146 games for Oakland and Colorado.
Stubbs, who came to Cleveland in last December’s trade with Cincinnati for Shin-Soo Choo, batted .233 with 10 homers and 17 steals in 146 games for the Indians. The Indians valued Stubbs – especially for his versatility and speed – but Cleveland’s signing of free agent David Murphy to a two-year, $12 million contract made him expendable. Murphy is projected to get most of the playing time in right field next season.
Stubbs fell into a major slump late in the season, batting just .188 after Aug. 12.
– By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
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