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