Complementary pieces strengthen Tribe's core

Additions of Napoli, Davis give lineup more pop, speed

Complementary pieces strengthen Tribe's core

CLEVELAND -- Up and down the American League Central, the Indians' rivals made blockbuster moves this offseason. Cleveland added a handful of complementary pieces, putting more stock in keeping its core together than doing anything dramatic on the winter stage.

"A lot of times, whoever wins the winter doesn't necessarily win in the season," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It looks to me like the American League is good, not just our division."

Spring Training preview Part I: Brantley among Indians aiming to rebound

In the days leading up to the start of Spring Training, which will be under way for the Indians when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 17, is examining various aspects of each roster. In the second installment of this multi-part series, new additions will be in the spotlight.

Cleveland's biggest offseason acquisitions were first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielder Rajai Davis, each of whom signed a one-year contract. Beyond those two signings, the Indians focused on building up depth for its bullpen and also in the outfield, especially considering left fielder Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery) could miss a portion of the first two months.

Spring Training Information

Bastian on Napoli's impact

"Trying to find right-handed power is hard," Francona said of Napoli. "He fit a profile that we were looking for: He can hit the ball out of the ballpark, right-handed, really improved defensively, good team guy, good teammate, been on a winner. And then, Rajai Davis is a guy that I kind of teased him and told him I hated him, because he was such a thorn in our side. He has the ability to play every day, but doesn't have to play every day to still be good. That's a really helpful player for us."

Here is a glance at the Tribe's notable offseason additions:

OF Joey Butler: Butler is best known among Indians fans for breaking up Carlos Carrasco's no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning July 1 in St. Petersburg. Now, Butler will have a chance to break camp with Cleveland. The outfielder hit .276 (.742 OPS) in 88 games for the Rays last season and offers depth in the corners. Beyond Butler, Cleveland also added Shane Robinson and Robbie Grossman as non-roster invitees for the outfield competition.

OF Collin Cowgill: Acquired from the Angels and then signed to a one-year, $1-million deal to avoid arbitration, Cowgill has a good shot at making the roster as a backup outfielder. He can handle all three outfield spots and has hit .271 (.733 OPS) in his career against lefties, making him a possible platoon partner with Lonnie Chisenhall in right field.

Davis: Signed to a one-year, $5.25 million deal, Davis projects to open the season as a starter in both center and left field. The 35-year-old veteran hit .258 (.746 OPS) with 18 steals and 35 extra-base hits for the Tigers last season and has averaged 30-plus steals and 30-plus extra base hits the past three years. When Brantley returns, Davis could move into a fourth-outfielder role.

Davis enjoying Tribe Fest

LHP Tom Gorzelanny: With youngsters Kyle Crockett and Giovanni Soto offering the best left-handed relief options on the 40-man roster, Cleveland added Gorzelanny and a couple of others as non-roster invitees for this spring. Ross Detwiler and Joe Thatcher were also added to the mix. It seems likely that at least one of the veteran lefties will crack the Opening Day bullpen.

Napoli: The Indians signed the 34-year-old to a one-year deal worth $7 million to give them a right-handed power option for the heart of their lineup. While he hit .224 overall last season with Boston and Texas, Napoli hit at a .295 (.908 OPS) clip down the stretch after being traded to the Rangers in August. Napoli hits lefties best, but will be offered everyday at-bats between first base and designated hitter.

RHP Dan Otero: The Indians took a flier on Otero, acquiring him from the Phillies in December. The righty had a 6.75 ERA for the A's last season, but turned in a 2.01 ERA in 105 games for Oakland between the 2013-14 campaigns. Beyond Otero, the Indians also added righty relievers Joba Chamberlain and Craig Stammen as non-roster invitees for the spring bullpen race.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.