Indians place reliever Jensen Lewis on waivers

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Jensen Lewis has consistently been one of Cleveland’s best relievers since debuting in mid-2007, posting a 3.68 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 198 innings, but he’s been knocked around in a half-dozen appearances this spring and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians have placed him on waivers.

Lewis is under contract for $650,000, which any team that claims him would also assume, but as far as veteran relievers available in late March go he should be a fairly attractive target.

On the other hand, for a non-contender like the Indians to willingly cut bait on a cheap 27-year-old reliever with a strong track record suggests he did something to fall out of favor in a hurry. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasn’t based entirely on his pitching poorly for five innings in exhibition games.

Either way it’ll be interesting to see if Lewis is claimed off waivers like Pat Neshek was by the Padres yesterday after the Twins surprisingly cut him loose.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.