Tribe invites Hermida to big league camp

Tribe invites Hermida to big league camp

CLEVELAND -- The Indians' starting outfield picture is complete, but the club is continuing to search for ways to strengthen its depth.

On Tuesday, Cleveland announced that it has signed free-agent outfielder Jeremy Hermida to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club. The addition of Hermida gives the Tribe nine outfielders in camp with the team this spring.

As things currently stand, the Indians plan to open this season with the starting outfield trio of Michael Brantley, Drew Stubbs and Nick Swisher. Depending on how Cleveland builds its bench, the team could break camp with as many as two additional outfielders on the roster.

The top candidate for the fourth outfielder appears to be Ezequiel Carrera, who is out of Minor League options. Carrera and Tim Fedroff are the only outfielders on the Tribe's 40-man roster at the moment. The current crop of outfielders expected to be in camp as non-roster invitees includes Ben Francisco, Matt Carson and Cedric Hunter.

In all, Cleveland has 21 players lined up as non-roster participants in Spring Training.

Hermida, 29, played 52 games for the Red Sox in 2010, when new Indians manager Terry Francona was at the helm in Boston. Over the past few seasons, however, the left-handed-hitting corner outfielder has bounced between the Majors and Minors for a handful of teams.

Last season, Hermida hit .250 (6-for-24) in 13 games for San Diego and posted a .252 average with 10 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs in 44 games for Triple-A Tucson in the Padres' system. Over the past three seasons, Hermida has hit .214 with a .277 on-base percentage, eight home runs and 40 RBIs in 116 games between stints with the Red Sox, A's, Reds and Padres.

Hermida's last full season in the big leagues came in 2009, when he hit .259 with a .348 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 47 RBIs in 129 games for the Marlins. Hermida -- a first-round pick (11th overall) by the Marlins in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft -- hit .267 with a .345 OBP and an average of 16 homers, 23 doubles and 57 RBIs per year over the 2008-09 seasons.

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.