Indians acquire Mark Rzepczynski from the St. Louis Cardinals
Was something else afoot?
By Jim Pete
July 30, 2013
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 Dotel, Edwin Jackson and Corey Patterson, for Trever Miller, Colby Rasmus, Brian 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 email@example.com.
i actually like it better if he goes to columbus and there is an internal competition to replace hill.
I think it was value. The demands for a young controllable SP for a LH relief arm is simply too costly.
Short answer is yes they liked him but have depth there.