Indians Acquire Salas in Trade with Rays, Designate Marte for Assignment
- Updated: February 23, 2009
On Thursday, the Indians made a few roster moves, one in particular which raised some eyebrows in Northeast Ohio. To start things off, the Tribe traded with the Tampa Bay Rays and acquired reliever Juan Salas for minor league infielder Isaias Velasquez.
Salas has seen action with the Rays during the past three seasons, but the right hander appeared in just five games with the American League champions during 2008. His best season in the bigs was in 2007 when he posted a record of 1-1 in 34 relieve appearances and 36.6 innings.
He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Rays in 1998.
Velasquez has been a professional baseball player for two seasons and spent the last season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the team’s low class A ballclub.
In 64 games of last year, Velasquez batted .281 with 10 doubles and 18 RBI.
The move that was the most shocking was not that the Indians moved a minor leaguer for a questionable reliever, but rather that they decided to take Andy Marte off of the 40 man roster to make room for Salas.
Although they are looking for all of the pitching help in the bullpen they can get, leaving Marte off this roster this late in the off season seems surprising. Marte was the main piece the Indians acquired when they sent outfielder Coco Crisp to the Boston Red Sox three years ago.
Even though Marte has not been able to produce as the Indians would have liked at the big league level, he has never really gotten consistent playing time, which really affected his confidence and his swing.
Many around Cleveland have been calling for Marte to be off the roster for some time, but general manager Mark Shapiro seemed to always show some loyalty to Marte perhaps since he blew so many Tribe scouts away with his skills in the minors.
Either way, it seems that the Indians are willing to do anything to find some bullpen help this off season, even if it means sacrificing a player they once had a great belief in.
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.