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Indians sign former first-rounder David Cooper to one-year deal

Dec 9, 2013, 3:01 PM EDT

David Cooper, Prince Fielder

After having his career derailed by back problems, first baseman David Cooper is on the way back with Cleveland, signing a one-year, major league deal on Monday.

Cooper, Toronto’s first-round pick in 2008, was last seen hitting .300/.324/.464 in 140 at-bats with the Blue Jays in 2012. He hurt his back that August diving back into first base and had surgery in 2013 to have a plate and screws inserted into his vertebrae. The Jays released him in March, and the Indians initially signed him in August, only to let him go when he requested his release a couple of weeks later.

The signing today puts him on the 40-man roster, but he probably won’t break camp with the Indians. He’s going to need at least a couple of hundred at-bats in Triple-A before he’s ready to contend for a roster spot.

Still, if Cooper does end up contributing, the Indians will be able to keep him for a long time. He doesn’t even have one full year of service time yet, so he’s probably not going to be arbitration eligible until after 2016 or eligible for free agency until after 2019.

  1. stephenolszewski - Dec 9, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    This move is HUGE !

  2. proudlycanadian - Dec 9, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I hope he does reappear in the majors, as that was a freak accident. He hit well for average, but hit fewer home runs that most teams want from a first baseman. He is also a slow runner.

  3. yahmule - Dec 9, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    He makes pretty good contact. Showed a decent walk rate in the minors, but swung at everything during his 145 major league PA in 2012.

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