According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, the Indians are nearing a minor league contract with free agent Ryan Raburn. The deal will likely be finalized next week and is expected to include a spring training invite.
Raburn, who turns 32 in April, was released by the Tigers in November after batting just .171/.226/.254 with one home run and a .480 OPS in 222 plate appearances last season. However, he smacked at least 14 homers in the previous three seasons and owns a .796 OPS against southpaws for his career.
Raburn won’t have a chance at a starting job in Cleveland, but with his experience between the infield and outfield, he could win a spot on Terry Francona’s bench.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.
Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”
The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.
It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.