GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians were undecided about what role left-hander Aaron Laffey would fill for the club during the upcoming season. On Wednesday, Cleveland handed that challenge to Seattle.
The Indians traded Laffey to the Mariners in exchange for Minor Leaguer Matt Lawson. The move vacated a spot on Cleveland's 40-man roster for recently signed reliever Chad Durbin. Lawson will report to the Tribe's Minor League camp.
Entering this spring, the Indians tabbed Laffey as a candidate for the lone vacancy at the back end of the rotation. With Laffey no longer in the picture, Cleveland's competition for the fifth spot appears to be down to Josh Tomlin, Jeanmar Gomez or David Huff.
Laffey said last week that he was fine with starting or serving as a long reliever.
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"I'm completely content with where I'm at and how I'm coming along with Spring Training," Laffey said. "I'm really just focusing on myself and taking care of the things I've got to do to get better.
"It doesn't matter if you're taking the ball in the first inning starting the game or picking the ball up in the fifth, sixth, seventh inning. Either way, once you get on that mound you have to perform."
Over parts of four seasons with the Indians, the 25-year-old Laffey went 18-21 with a 4.41 ERA in 79 games, including 49 starts. Last season, the lefty went 2-3 with a 4.53 ERA over 29 games (five starts) for the Tribe, which selected him in the 16th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.
In Lawson, 25, the Indians are aquiring a versatile player with experience both in the infield and outfield. Lawson has spent the bulk of his professional career as a second baseman, but he has also manned shortstop, as well as left and center field.
Lawson is also one of 13 players to have been traded as part of deals that sent left-hander Cliff Lee the other way. Indians players Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp also share that distinction.
On July 9 last season, the Rangers shipped Lawson to the Mariners as part of the blockbuster deal that put Lee in a Texas uniform. In 118 games between stints with Double-A Firsco (Texas) and Double-A West Tennessee (Seattle), Lawson hit .293 with nine home runs, 26 doubles, seven triples, 75 runs scored and 56 RBIs.
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.