You can tell the Indians have run out of serious money to pay players.
Late Saturday night, they signed 42-year-old Jason Giambi to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to major league spring training camp, even though Giambi hasn’t contributed meaningfully to a team since 2008.
But maybe he can fill the Tribe’s designated hitter spot on a part-time basis, at least that’s what the club’s deep thinkers hope will happen.
The same kind of thinking went into Sunday’s signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka, 32, who agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to big-league camp.
Matsuzaka, 32, doesn’t have age going against him, as does Giambi, but he underwent surgery to his right arm in 2011 and pitched poorly last season, going 1-7 with an 8.38 earned-run average in 11 starts. He will have to pass a physical before the deal is formalized.
The Indians have a vacancy in their rotation. Until now, it was believed that manager Terry Francona and General Manager Chris Antonetti expected Carlos Carrasco, also coming off elbow surgery, to win that spot. Maybe they still do, but apparently they can’t resist passing up a low risk alternative.
Matsuzaka pitched for Francona in Boston, compiling a 50-37 record and 4.52 ERA, working under the terms of a six-year, $52 million contract. He will earn only a tiny fraction of that with the Tribe, and then only if he makes the team.
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.