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Cleveland Indians sign David Lough to a minor league deal

It appears to be a cheap insurance policy if any other outfielders are hurt.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians signed free agent OF David Lough to a minor league contract and assigned him to the Columbus Clippers this morning.

Lough, an Akron native and graduate of Green High School, came up through the Royals organization in 2012. Early in his career he provided excellent value for teams by chipping in around 2 fWAR off the bench or in platoons. Much of this value came from his glove; Lough can cover all three outfield positions.

Now aged 31, Lough may not have the mobility that he once did, but his recent stints with the Orioles in 2015 and the Phillies with 2016 suggest (by the numbers) that he is still a competent left fielder.

If the move confuses you, it shouldn’t. The Indians don’t give up very much at all to acquire Lough. Is he a replacement level player at this point in his career? Yes, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s actually the exact type of player the Indians would need if another injury further derails the outfield. There isn’t necessarily another outfielder after Robertson or Zimmer who is ready to be called up to the 40-man roster without threatening his development. This also signals that the Indians aren’t ready to put Yandy Diaz back into the outfield mix.

Another possibility is that the Indians don’t plan on advancing Mike Papi, Greg Allen, or any of the other RubberDucks outfields any time soon. In this case, Lough gets a chance to fight for another shot in the Majors while filling in at AAA after Tyler Naquin, Austin Jackson, or both return to the Indians roster.

At the end of the day, it’s organizational depth for next to nothing. That’s never bad.