By Sheldon Ocker
Beacon Journal sports writer
The Indians traded outfielder Drew Stubbs to the Colorado Rockies for left-handed reliever Josh Outman on Wednesday.
Outman, 29, compiled a 4.33 ERA in 61 appearances, working 54 innings. He pitched almost as many innings against right-handers as he did against lefties, who batted .198 against him. Righties posted a .347 average.
Interestingly, Outman was more effective at his home ballpark, Coors Field, which is notoriously unkind to pitchers, than he was on the road. His ERA at home was 3.41, compared to 5.40 on the road.
Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said Outman’s specific role would be determined during spring training.
“Ultimately I think that will take shape going into spring training and especially coming out of spring training,” he said. “But for us, he probably will work mostly against left-handers.”
Outman is the second reliever acquired this week by the Tribe, the first being John Axford, who pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals last season. Acquiring bullpen help became a priority, because closer Chris Perez and seventh-inning specialist Joe Smith were not returning.
“One of our focuses in the offseason is to improve our pitching,” Antonetti said. “I think we’ve made progress in this respect.”
However, Antonetti did not say that pursuing relievers was off the table.
“I feel better than I did at the start of the offseason, but I think we still have to work to improve,” he said.
Once the Tribe signed former Texas Rangers free-agent outfielder David Murphy last month, it was presumed that Stubbs would be dealt and reportedly several clubs were interested.
Last season, Stubbs, 29, played mostly right field, though he customarily has played center. In 430 at-bats, he batted .233 with 10 home runs, 45 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts.
He struggled against right-handed pitching, compiling a .216 average. He also bogged down the offense by striking out 141 times, a tendency he has displayed throughout his career.
Murphy will be the left-handed half of a right-field platoon in 2014. Ryan Raburn will start against left-handers, as the Tribe hopes to increase its home run and RBI totals.
Stubbs made $2.825 million in 2013 but is in line for a salary increase to as much as $4 million, because he is eligible for arbitration.
Catcher Lou Marson, 27, who was nontendered by the Tribe this month, has signed a minor-league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, the team that drafted him.
He missed almost all of the 2013 season with an inflamed right shoulder.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.