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Indians acquire Mark Rzepczynski from the St. Louis Cardinals

Was something else afoot?

Indians acquire Mark Rzepczynski from the St. Louis Cardinals
July 30, 2013
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The Cleveland Indians have completed a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals, receiving left-handed relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski from the St. Louis Cardinals for SS Juan Herrera from short-season Mahoning Valley. 

Rzepczynski is a 27-year old reliever who has spent the past two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007 as a starter, and after a dominant turn through the minors, in which he went 21-11 with a 2.76 ERA from low A to High A in three seasons, he debuted with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009.

He made 11 starts that season, going 2-4 with a solid 3.67 ERA. He would struggle in 2010 for the Jays, and bounce between Triple A and Toronto, but would rebound in a big way in 2011. After going 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA in 14 games in 2010, the Blue Jays decided to move him to the pen full time the following season.

It paid off in a big way.

Rzepczynski pitched in 43 games for the Blue Jays that season, going 2-3 with a 2.97 ERA in 39 1/3 innings. He was then traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a major trade at the deadline in 2011, along with Octavio DotelEdwin Jackson and Corey Patterson, for Trever MillerColby RasmusBrian Tallet and P.J. Walters

Since then, the Cardinals lefty never quite regained the luster he had during the first half of the 2011 season. He has gone 1-6 with the Cards since then, with a 4.63 ERA. He especially struggled this year, going eight total innings over nine games in April, giving up 13 hits and seven earned runs during that stretch. He was sent back to the minors for the first time since 2010, and had just returned to the Cards in July, giving up two earned runs in just over two more innings of work.

His claim to fame is perhaps his strangely spelled last name (his nickname is "Scrabble"), and the fact that he pitched 2 2/3 of shutout baseball in the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals. He's struggling right now, but there is no doubt that he has some upside.

Juan Herrera is a smallish, right-handed hitting middle infielder who was playing for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the short season NY/Penn League. He specialized in making contact, and getting on base. He wasn't a major prospect by any stretch, and was rated 93rd in Tony Lastoria's 2013 IBI Top 100 Prospects ratings.

The Indians are clearly trying to fill in the holes of a bullpen that has had a few of them this season, and most of them on the left-hand side of the bump. Rich Hill, Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes and David Huff have all been used throughout the year, and have all failed to solidify a shaky pen. It remains to be seen if Rcepzcynski can help solidify the pen, or just become another struggling arm, since he's struggled all season in the bigs.

Here's one thing that's for sure: there will be a bunch of writers today who have to go back and forth to try and spell this kid's name..."Scrabble" indeed...

It's unknown, as we speak, if this deal is the after-effects of another potential deal that could have been in the works prior to this, as the rumors have been swirling that the Cardinals have been looking at Indians shortstop, Asdrubal Cabrera. It could also be the pre-cursor to something bigger.

Tune in to IBI for more information on this deal, or any other that may come to pass over the next 21 hours.

Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as  the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

User Comments

David
July 31, 2013 - 11:49 AM EDT
Crap! Somehow missed the 'i' on the end of his name! LOL
Pat Sajak
July 31, 2013 - 8:52 AM EDT
How about some vowels?
Joe Chengery
July 31, 2013 - 3:38 AM EDT
David, I think you mean two vowels, right? :-) ("e" and "i").
David
July 31, 2013 - 1:05 AM EDT
11 letters in his last name, only one vowel? That is amazing!!
Tony
July 30, 2013 - 11:44 PM EDT
He will join the Indians on Wednesday. The big news is he is replacing Pestano who has been optioned to Columbus.
Matt
July 30, 2013 - 11:08 PM EDT
i like it in theory, but does he go to columbus to compete with rapada, romero, hagadone, barnes, or does he automatically replace hill himself?

i actually like it better if he goes to columbus and there is an internal competition to replace hill.
Tony
July 30, 2013 - 8:53 PM EDT
The Indians did not pay a heavy price as while Herrera is an up and coming shortstop prospect that teams really began to take notice of this year, he is so low in the minors that it is worth taking a flier on Scrabble. A flier indeed. All the Indians did here was add another lefty option that has struggled, and it looks like their approach may be to throw up as many lefty arms against the wall to see who sticks. I am underwhelmed by this pickup as I really wanted something more impactful, but I guess it doesn't hurt.
Homer
July 30, 2013 - 8:22 PM EDT
@ Rich Smith,

I think it was value. The demands for a young controllable SP for a LH relief arm is simply too costly.
Homer
July 30, 2013 - 8:16 PM EDT
@ Joe,

Short answer is yes they liked him but have depth there.
Rich Smith
July 30, 2013 - 7:57 PM EDT
Is Scrabble Man going to Indians or Columbus? Doesn't appear to be a valid left-handed option, in my opinion. I'd rather have a veteran like Mike Gonzales who is reliable performer than hoping to strike some lightning with Rzepczyinski. But it worked with Esmil Rogers last year, and they have been able to turn around Jiminez this year. Who knows? Might work out well.
MT88 in WI
July 30, 2013 - 7:02 PM EDT
Even if Herrera was able to stick (at SS with the glove), this was the worst organization for him to be in with players like Lindor, Paulino, Jose Ramirez and others ahead of him. I wish him luck in his new opportunity.
Joe
July 30, 2013 - 6:54 PM EDT
What's peoples thoughts on Herrera's glove? Can he stick at short?

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