Outfielder Drew Stubbs is in line for a raise on his $2.825 million salary in 2013 as he is eligible for arbitration for the second of three years. Despite a solidified outfield with Michael Brantley in left, Michael Bourn in center, and the recently-signed David Murphy in right, the Indians are expected to tender Stubbs a contract, according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. He would serve in a back-up role, but the Indians could always trade him at some point as well.
Depending on how much credit you give him defensively, Stubbs has mostly graded out somewhere between replacement level and average, according to both versions of Wins Above Replacement (2.0 is average) on FanGraphs and Baseball Reference. He finished 2013 with a lackluster .233/.305/.360 line but stole 17 bases in 19 attempts and has stolen as many as 40 bases in the past with the Reds.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.