Free agent outfielder Rajai Davis has reunited with the Indians, per a team announcement on Saturday. Davis has agreed to a minor league contract and is attending camp on a non-roster invite.
Davis is only two years removed from his last gig with the Indians, when he helped fuel the team’s pennant chase in 2016. He split his 2017 campaign with the Athletics and Red Sox, but wasn’t able to replicate the numbers that made his performance so memorable in Cleveland. The 37-year-old outfielder slashed a combined .235/.293/.348 with five home runs and 29 stolen bases in 366 plate appearances for the two clubs.
The Indians already have an established outfield trio with Michael Brantley, Bradley Zimmer and Lonnie Chisenhall, though Brantley’s ankle injuries may keep him out of the lineup for the next several weeks. Corner outfielder Brandon Guyer is also currently sidelined after undergoing surgery on his left wrist. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes that Jason Kipnis is in line to slot in for Brantley, while Davis and fellow non-roster invitee Melvin Upton Jr. are expected to provide backup and platoon options in the outfield if they can’t secure full-time roles.
Part of the reason the Cleveland Indians could trade away a pitcher like Trevor Bauer in the middle of a playoff race is because they have reinforcements on the way. The primary reinforcement is Corey Kluber, who has been out since May 1 with a broken arm. Based on what happened yesterday it’s possible that the Tribe will have to wait a bit longer for that particular reinforcement to arrive.
Kluber was the starter in yesterday’s game between Triple-A Columbus and Charlotte. He managed only one inning, however, walking two and not allowing a run before being lifted due to abdominal tightness. It was said that he was removed for precautionary reasons, so it may not be an injury as opposed to everyone simply being spooked. He’ll be reevaluated today.
It’s unclear whether this will delay his return to the Indians, though it obviously isn’t a good development. As it stood before yesterday, Cleveland had hoped Kluber could make big league starts in September and be ready for the postseason.