CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Indians traded utility infielder Mike Freeman to the Reds on Friday for cash considerations.
The good thing for Freeman is that he didn’t have to make much of a move because the Indians and Reds’ training complexes are connected in Goodyear, Ariz. The bad thing for the Indians is that they’re losing a player who did a good job in a difficult role over the last two years.
The Indians also sent six players to the minors: right-handers Carlos Vargas, Jean Carlos Mejia, Eli Morgan, left-hander Scott Moss and third baseman-outfielder Nolan Jones were optioned to Class AAA Columbus. Right-hander Kyle Dowdy was re-assigned to the minor league “depth camp.” Outfielder Billy Hamilton was re-assigned to the depth camp on Thursday.
There are currently 48 players in big-league camp.
Freeman became expandable because of the presence of Yu Chang and Amed Rosario this spring. While Freeman is a left-handed hitter, Chang and Rosario, competing for the same role, are right-handed hitters and fit better into the team’s roster projection.
The Indians acquired Rosario from the Mets in the Francisco Lindor-Carlos Carrasco deal. He’s been a shortstop his whole career, but has apparently lost that job to Andres Giminez, acquired from the Mets in the same trade. Rosario will play center field in a B game on Sunday.
Rosario is also making $2.4 million so it would seem he’s going to make the final roster one way or the other.
Freeman hit .277 (49-for-177) with four homers and 24 RBI in 2019 for the Indians. He played every position in the infield, appeared in six games in the outfield and pitched twice. He appeared in 43 games last year, hitting .237 (9-for-38). This spring Freeman was hitting .333 (5-for-15) with one homer and three RBI.
“Cincinnati was probably the team it came down to when he signed back with us this winter,” said manager Terry Francona. “They seemed to have, what they believe, is a better opportunity for him to not only make their club, but play a little bit more.
“Chris (Antonetti, president of baseball operations), to his credit, told Mike, ‘Hey, if we think there’s a better scenario for you we will look out for you.’ A lot of that is because of the respect we have for Mike. It’s not fun saying goodbye to somebody you really care about. But on the flip side, knowing he has a real good opportunity, made us feel really good about it.”
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