Indians bring back veteran catcher Luke Carlin

luke carlin

luke carlinVeteran catcher Luke Carlin will be returning to the Cleveland Indians in 2014 on a minor league free agent deal.

The team announced the move on Twitter early Friday morning. Carlin, 33, appeared in 138 games for Triple-A Columbus and 10 for the Indians from 2010-2012. He spent last season in the Los Angeles Angels organization, batting .230/.339/.311 in 77 games over in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

As of now, as Indians Baseball Insider’s Tony Lastoria quipped on Twitter yesterday, the Tribe lacks many viable big-league backup catching options. Yan Gomes is expected to be the new everyday catcher. Carlos Santana is reportedly preparing for possibly regular duty at third base. After that, the only other option is 37-year-old Matt Treanor, who also was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

In 2013, Santana made 81 starts at catcher, Gomes made 79 and since-departed Lou Marson made the other two. Gomes is only 26 and only had 178 games of catching experience in the minor leagues. So the Indians rightfully should have some concerns about how many games he can catch in 2014.

Carlin is a boring signing. But he has familiarity with the Indians organization and will likely remain as an emergency backup option over with the Clippers. So in that sense, it’s a safe move for the organization.

The Indians recently invited catching prospect Roberto Perez to big league spring training. The 25-year-old is regarded as the best defensive catching prospect in the system. But he batted just .200/.337/.286 in 350 plate appearances between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus last season. So he’s not really a viable MLB option at this point.

[Related: Thursday Tribe Notes]

Photo: Jordan Bastian/MLB.com

  • Steve

    Isn’t this just about getting enough catchers in camp that all the pitchers can get work in? They’re bringing in five NRI catchers. This is simply because you can’t get all your pitchers enough work with just two or three backstops.

  • Natedawg86

    Didn’t realize Lou only made 2 starts last yr…ouch

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It’s only January 24th Steve take it easy no need for you to come riding in on your painted pony defending the Indians. You’ll have plenty of time for that once actual games start. I’d rest up, I think you are gonna need it!!!

  • M

    Sal Fasano

  • Kildawg

    Looks like Carlin will be Treanor’s primary competition for backup catcher. If the two are pretty much even, the tiebreaker should be who has the hotter WAG (Treanor would win that battle).

  • Steve

    I’m not defending anything. It’s just a simple fact that when you have 30 pitchers trying to get enough work in to be ready for Opening Day, that you need to add a few catchers to the roster.