When Andrew Miller was acquired at the trade deadline last season, the Cleveland Indians took a step into the spotlight as an emerging team out of the American League Central Division
At the time of the trade, zero left-handed pitchers were on the 25-man roster. Kyle Crockett, Ryan Merritt, Shawn Morimando and T.J. House had all made relief appearances in the 2016 regular season, but their roles seemed better suited for Triple-A Columbus.
With Miller still remaining as the only reliable southpaw option amidst the bullpen in 2017, manager Terry Francona felt the need to express his desire for a second left-handed reliever to effectively pair with the 2016 ALCS Most Valuable Player last Friday.
"It’s not just having a second lefty, it’s having one you can depend on." Francona said. "There’s a little bit of a difference and I’ve been through it both ways and you can get in trouble."
This quote was directly addressed on Thursday afternoon, six days after Francona spoke with the media.
With the countdown until spring training ticking away, the Tribe reportedly reached an agreement with free agent LHP Boone Logan pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The one-year deal is worth $5.5-million with a $7-million club option or $1-million buyout for 2018, according to ESPN's Buster Olney and Cleveland.com's Paul Hoynes.
Most recently, Logan was a member of the Colorado Rockies before testing the free agent market on Nov. 3.
The 32-year-old specializes in matching up against opposing left-handed hitters, making him a lethal weapon for Francona to employ in the middle innings. Not only does this keep Miller available for the later stages of the game, but it arguably transforms the bullpen unit consisting of Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero, Miller and Logan into one of the best in baseball.
Despite pitching in the hitter's paradise known as Coors Field, Logan held left-handed hitters to a .142/.222/.255 slash line in 2016. Since 2012, lefties are mustering a .215/.293/.341 clip against Logan's deceptive delivery.
Logan shook off the rough patches from 2014 (6.84 ERA) and 2015 (4.33 ERA) by finishing the 2016 season with a 3.69 ERA in 66 appearances (46.1 IP, 27 H, 23 R, 19 ER, 20 BB, 57 K). The Temple College product has at least 11 K/9 in each of the last five campaigns.
Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Goodyear, AZ on Feb. 12.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.