Indians Sign Jose Lopez

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The Cleveland Indians have signed infielder Jose Lopez to a minor-league deal, the team announced Friday. Lopez will be a non-roster invitee to the Tribe’s 2012 spring training camp.

Lopez, 28, hit .216/.245/.372 (59 wRC+) with 8 homers, 21 RBI, 23 steals and -0.2 fWAR in 82 games for the Rockies and Marlins in 2012, his second straight down year compared to his already lackluster career numbers (.263/.294/.398, 81 wRC+). He plays mostly third base but also saw time at first and second.

Such a noncommittal deal can’t hurt, but here’s hoping Lopez doesn’t get too much playing time: if he makes the team as a bench guy he’ll be taking opportunities from the better and younger Jason Donald and Cord Phelps, and he wouldn’t be an upgrade over Matt LaPorta at first base.

The Indians also officially announced that they had signed outfielder Felix Pie to a minor-league deal, news that we learned last week. Pie probably won’t be much of a factor for the Tribe next year, but he has a higher ceiling and a smaller chance of taking playing time from someone more deserving.

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