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Cleveland Indians sign reliever George Kontos, boost bullpen

dgasper
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 02: George Kontos #70 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Francisco Cervelli #29 celebrates after defeating the Minnesota Twins 5-4 during inter-league play at PNC Park on April 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 02: George Kontos #70 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Francisco Cervelli #29 celebrates after defeating the Minnesota Twins 5-4 during inter-league play at PNC Park on April 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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On Sunday morning it was announced that the Cleveland Indians signed former Yankees and Pirates reliever George Kontos to a minor league deal.

Kontos was designated for assignment last week by the Pittsburgh Pirates after posting a 5.03 ERA in 21 appearances this season. While these are disappointing numbers, you can’t expect much from a free agent at the beginning of June. If he was pitching well, he wouldn’t have become a free agent.

We all knew the Cleveland Indians needed bullpen help as soon as possible. The July trade deadline is still a ways away, so Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff needed to fill the gaps with smaller free agent and waiver acquisitions.

The other day the Tribe added lefty Oliver Perez to its bullpen, and now Kontos is joining the organization as well.

How good has Kontos been?

Outside of this year, he’s been a pretty serviceable reliever. Kontos owns a career 3.11 ERA over parts of eight big league seasons. From 2014-2016, Kontos was a reliable member of the San Francisco Giants bullpen, tossing three straight seasons of sub-3.00 ERA ball.

The soon to be 33 year old righty has a career .232/.270/.374 line against same sided hitters. He’s posted a similar .239/.324/.381 line against left handed hitters.

Last year, Kontos finished with a career high 9.5 K/9 en route to a 3.39 ERA finish in 2017. This year, he has a career low 4.1 K/9 and that could have been part of reason for his removal from the Pirates bullpen. Perhaps all he needs is a change of scenery.

How will Kontos help the bullpen?

He’ll help the bullpen by going to Triple-A and getting back on track before coming up to the big leagues. He’s been assigned to the Columbus Clippers and will get his work in there before presumably being called up to the big leagues in the near future.

The need in the Indians bullpen has been well documented and adding quality depth like Kontos will help improve that position group. The major reinforcements won’t come until July, but by building up depth and giving Terry Francona several options, the Indians are heading in the right direction.

By signing a minor league deal, Kontos is not placed on the 40 man roster, so a corresponding roster move is not immediately necessary, but it will be when Kontos is called up.

This is the second bullpen move in as many days as Oliver Perez was just signed by the Cleveland Indians yesterday.

Next: Indians sign Oliver Perez

Kontos doesn’t cost much money as a minor league signee, but he’s been a good reliever in the past and maybe a change of scenery is all that’s necessary.

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