CLEVELAND -- The Indians added another layer of rotation depth on Tuesday, signing former Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin to a Minor League contract.
Chacin is currently building up pitch volume at Cleveland's spring complex in Goodyear, Ariz., and he's slated to join Triple-A Columbus' staff in the coming weeks. In a surprise move, the veteran right-hander was released by Colorado on March 22 after appearing to be a lock for the club's rotation earlier in camp.
After designating righty Shaun Marcum for assignment on Tuesday and losing right-hander Josh Tomlin for at least the first half due to right shoulder surgery, Cleveland was in the market for additional depth behind its Major League starting staff. There is still a chance that Marcum will return to Triple-A, if he clears waivers and accepts an outright assignment.
"We're just trying to add some depth," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday. "You don't know what's going to happen, but in the first week, we've already had several things happen. You don't want to start dipping into younger kids who aren't ready and things like that."
The 27-year-old Chacin signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Rockies over the winter, but the club is only on the hook for $1.35 million after releasing him near the end of Spring Training. Over parts of six seasons with Colorado, Chacin went 38-48 with a 3.78 ERA in 124 games. The righty's best season was arguably 2013, when he went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 197 1/3 innings.
Over the 2011-13 campaigns, Chacin posted a 3.68 ERA and a 4.04 FIP, and his 123 ERA+ indicates that he was 23 percent better than league average over that time period. In 2014, though, the right-hander went 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 starts (63 1/3 innings) while battling shoulder issues. Chacin's average fastball velocity dropped to 89.2 mph in 2014 after being as high as 92 mph in '11.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.