June 6, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ryan Roberts (19) in the dugout against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

IndiansTarget: Ryan Roberts

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The Cleveland Indians will use many different avenues during the offseason to improve their 40-man roster and build vertical depth in the minors.

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Last winter the Tribe traded reliever Esmil Rogers for shortstop Mike Aviles and catcher Yan Gomes.

They also traded away a pending free agent outfielder Shin Soo-Choo to acquire relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, and outfielder Drew Stubbs

They  signed big ticket free agent outfielders Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher.

They also reached into what I like to call the ugly list and found pitcher Scott Kazmir, utility INF/OF Ryan Raburn, and designated hitter Jason Giambi who were all signed to minor league deals.

Over the winter I will focus on all types of players from top tier free agents (who may fall to the Indians price range) to the ugly list. Today, I’ll take a look at Ryan Roberts formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays.

List: Ugly

2013 Salary/Contact Status:

Last winter Roberts (now 33 years old) avoided arbitration with the Rays by agreeing to a 1-year $2.95M contact. He was designated for assignment by the Rays on August 15th and accepted his outright assignment to the Durham Bulls on August 19th.

Last 3 Seasons:

From 2011-2013 he hit a combined .243/.316/.392 with an OPS+ of 93. His overall numbers have been in decline in each of the last 3 seasons.

In 2011 he started 143 games and posted a slash line of .249/.341/.427 with 19 HR, 86 RBI, a wOBA of .339 and a wRC+ of 109. He played in 107 games at 3b, 28 at 2b, 3  in LF, and 1 at shortstop.

In 2012 he appeared in 143 games (83 games with Arizona, 60 with Rays) and hit a combined .235/.296/.360 with 12 HR, 51 RBI, a wOBA of .291, and a wRC+ of 78. He played in 78 games at 3b, 54 at 2b, and 1 at shortstop.

In 2013 he appeared in 60 games with the Rays posting a slash line of .247/.295/.377 with 5 HR a wOBA of .290 and a wRC+ of 90. He played  in 48 games at 2b, 9 games at 3b, and 3 games at 1b.

Why Cleveland?

Roberts could be a nice rebound candidate to split time with Lonnie Chisenhall at 3rd base against LHP and as a pinch hitter off the bench.

In his career he has a slash line against left-handed pitching of .266/.341/.444 with 21 home runs over 535 at-bats.

Over the last 3 seasons against lefties – 2011 he hit .278 (37 for 133),  2012 he hit .231 (36 for 156), and in 2013 he hit .305 (25 for 82).

As a pinch hitter over the last 3 seasons – 2011 he hit .400 (6 for 15), 2012 he hit .261 (6 for 23), and in 2013 he hit .267 (4 for 15).

Type of Contract: 

Since he is a duplicate to Mike Aviles both in bat handness and positional flexibility (sans shortstop) he should not be offered a major league contract. Rather he should be signed to a minor league deal or a split contract with an agreed upon major league salary if he were to be called up to the Indians or make the team out of spring training.

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Tags: Cleveland Indians Hot Stove Lonnie Chisenhall Ryan Roberts

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