Leo: The Canzler-man can, can’t he?
The Indians acquired INF/OF Russ Canzler on Tuesday from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash, placing him to the 40-man roster spot that opened with the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona was placed on the Restricted List.
Canzler, 25, was named the International League MVP last season. He is very versatile, with the ability to play the corner infield and outfield positions. Cleveland hopes he adds some serious competition for a spot on the big league roster, possibly an alternative to Matt LaPorta at first base.
If Canzler fails to make the team this spring, he’ll start the season in Columbus. Canzler has all three minor league options available, so the Tribe can bounce him from Cleveland to Columbus as they see fit.
Canzler hit .314 with 40 doubles, 4 triples, and 18 HRs in 131 games with Durham last year, his rookie Triple-A campaign. He also compiled 83 RBIs and posted a .401 OBP before receiving an end-of-season call-up to Tampa where he appeared in three games (1-for-3, K, BB, 1 RBI). He was designated for assignment on January 27th after the Rays signed INF Jeff Keppinger.
He was originally selected by the Cubs in the 30th round of the 2004 draft out of Hazleton Area High School in Pennsylvania. Russ was released by Chicago in 2010 and signed by Tampa Bay as a minor league free agent prior to the 2011 season. The right-handed hitter owns a minor league average of .280 with 172 doubles, 23 triples, 84 HR and 405 RBI in 738 career games.
He could be the second reigning IL MVP to join the Clippers in the last three seasons. Shelley Duncan joined Cleveland in 2010 after winning the award with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Duncan has now logged 161 games (506 plate appearances) in the majors with the Tribe. The Indians are hoping Canzler, who is five years younger than Duncan was when acquired, can help them in some capacity either now or in the future.
Jordan Bastian has more on Russ Canzler at Indians.com
Russ Canzler has a fan in Mike Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star.