With Opening Day just a shade over a week away, the Cleveland Indians have made a flurry of roster moves.
The biggest takeaway is that Austin Jackson, who was signed to a minor-league deal in the offseason, has been told he has made the major-league roster.
Francona: OF Austin Jackson has made the team.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 26, 2017
Per the previously reported terms of Jackson’s contract, once he is officially makes the roster, the deal will be worth $1.5 million at minimum; up to $5.5 million with incentives.
Jackson, 30, is coming off a knee surgery in 2016 that shortened his disappointing season with the Chicago White Sox. He played in just 54 games for the Tribe’s AL Central rival, slashing .254/.318/.343 with two stolen bases before being shut down in early June. This spring with the Indians, Jackson is 9-for-24 with a home run and five walks. More importantly, his knee appears to be healing well and he can provide depth for the Indians in center field.
The unfortunate part of spring training, opposite stories like Jackson’s redemption, is the cuts.
First baseman Chris Colabello, catchers Erik Kratz and Adam Moore, left-handed pitcher Tyler Olson, third baseman Richie Shaffer, and outfielders Daniel Robertson and Bradley Zimmer were all reassigned to minor league teams while pitchers Mike Clevinger and Joe Colon were optioned.
Indians moves...— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 26, 2017
On Zimmer, manager Terry Francona said he wanted the young prospect to “knock the door down,” and make the Indians call him up. While he had a good spring, he was not overwhelming great, and he will need to prove he can keep his strikeout totals down in Triple-A.
Mike Clevinger’s option, while probably disappointing for the 26-year-old, was expected. Francona appears to have no interest in using Clevinger’s potential in the bullpen, and will instead keep him stretched out as a starter in Triple-A for when he’s needed in the majors.