Indians send Matt LaPorta back to Triple-A

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Matt LaPorta was one of my favorite sleeper picks coming into the season, but he was slowed early on while making his way back from offseason hip surgery and batted just .218 with one homer and a .567 OPS through 35 games before the Indians demoted him to the minors Monday.
Andy Marte came off the disabled list to replace LaPorta on the roster, but doesn’t figure to see much action barring more injuries. If healthy I’m still confident that LaPorta will eventually develop into a power bat and likely middle-of-the-order threat for Cleveland, but for now the Indians will stick with veterans Russell Branyan and Austin Kearns at first base and left field, and perhaps try to cash them in for value at the trade deadline.
LaPorta is 25 years old and already crushed Triple-A pitching, so his return will rely on looking healthy and like his old self. Cleveland won’t give up on him any time soon after acquiring LaPorta as the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade to Milwaukee.

Report: Chris Tillman will decide on a team this week

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Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.

Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.

While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.