Hopefully you did not put a towel on that hot stove because baby it’s burning. Okay, not really, but the Cleveland Indians have added another reliever to their growing stable of bullpen arms. According to Jordan Bastian, the Tribe have signed a deal with right-handed pitcher, Craig Stammen. The 31-year-old reliever spent the first 11 seasons of his professional career as a member of the Washington Nationals before becoming a non-tendered free agent after 2015.
UPDATE: Per Ken Rosenthal, Stammen could be owed as much as $3 million this season if he makes the roster. If he is not placed on the major-league roster by March 25, he can opt out and become a free agent again.
Source: Stammen gets $1M base, $2M in incentives if he makes #Indians. Can become free agent on 3/25 if not added to major-league roster.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 8, 2016
Stammen only threw in five games for the Nationals last year; his season was cut short by a torn muscle in his throwing arm. Prior to that, however, he carried a 3.84 ERA and a 3.19 FIP in 2014. There is no guarantee Stammen will be fully effective after his injury last season, but he comes at almost no expense to the Indians as a minor league deal with a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
MLB Trade Rumors estimated that Stammen would have made $2.4 million in salary arbitration court. The Nationals were reportedly not offering even close to what Stammen would have asked for, the two sides ultimately came to an impasse, and the Nationals non-tendered him.
The Indians have already signed several relievers this offseason, including Joba Chamberlain, Joe Thatcher, and Jarrett Grube. They also acquired right-hander Dan Otero from the Philadelphia Phillies for cash. As I have said several times in the past this offseason, the Indians are throwing a bunch of cost-effective relievers at a wall and hoping one of them sticks. Stammen will be competing for a spot in the major-league bullpen out of Spring Training.