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Pestano to be optioned to Columbus for Rzepczynski

Pestano to be optioned to Columbus for Rzepczynski
July 30, 2013
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The Indians made a surprising move on Tuesday night optioning out right-handed pitcher Vinnie Pestano to Triple-A Columbus to make room on the 25-man roster for newly acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski. The Indians earlier in the day designated right-hander Joe Martinez for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Rzepczynski. The move is not yet official but is expected to be announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Pestano, 28, is 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA in 34 appearances this season, and in 33.1 innings has allowed 32 hits, 6 homers, 19 walks, and has 34 strikeouts. He has seen a signifcant drop in the quality of his stuff this season as his velocity has consistency been down 2-3 MPH since he went on the disabled list in May with a right elbow injury. He quickly returned, but he has not been the same since, though had been pitching better of late from a results perspective.

Still, the quality of Pestano's stuff was not what it was the previous two years when he was one of the AL's top setup men and often overmatched hitters. This season his hit rate, home run rate and walks rate have all spiked considerably, but he has been unable to figure out what it is that ails him as he and the Indians have both said he is healthy. With the Indians in a pennant race and him having options remaining, it appears they are going to let him go to Columbus to get himself figured out, something which might work well considering it is a low pressure environment and he can pitch and work on things without worrying about negatively impacting a game for the Indians.

It is important to note that lefty Cliff Lee had the same thing happen to him in August of 2007, ironically the last year the Indians contended this late in the season for a playoff spot. He came back from that disappointment to win the AL Cy Young the next season. It is also important to note that if Pestano spends the next month in Columbus that his arbitration status could change from an "arbitration one" player to a "super 2" player, which is important as he could get less money in arbitration this offseason and the Indians could also gain an extra year of control since he would be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season and not the 2016 season.

One thing that bears watching is what kind of impact this move has on the team chemistry as Pestano was a popular player in the clubhouse. With the Indians going well, some would argue that messing with the chemistry of the team like this could do more harm than good.

Rzepczynski, 27, has only appeared in 11 games this year for the Cardinals and is 0-0 with a 7.84 ERA (10.1 IP, 16 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 9 K), and has spent most of the season at Triple-A Memphis going 1-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 32 games (44.0 IP, 44 H, 1 HR, 18 BB, 31 K). He will join the Indians bullpen as the second lefty in a matchup role, one he has performed well in over his career as lefties own a career .224 average, .607 OPS, and 3.13 K/BB ratio against him.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

July 31, 2013 - 5:51 PM EDT
shy, Jesse Crain is on the DL. Also, the Indians kill that guy. Jeremy Sowers being on PEDs is a hilarious thought. I really think you overestimate how much PEDs would benefit a pitcher. They have a clear value to a hitter. Pitching is so much about mechanics though, not brute strength. Like Chris Sale. The main benefit would be recovery, and not getting worn out, especially for aging players (Clemens, Pettite, Paul Byrd). While nothing relating with PEDs would be totally mind-boggling (the righteous Byrd was on HGH, thinking it would make the junk he was throwing, junkier?), the idea that Sowers and his 91mph fastball and Jensen Lewis were on some type of drug that enhanced their sports performance, is definitely borderline hilarious.

Hopefully Pestano is not another Jensen Lewis type. I wish they had sent him down 6 weeks ago. Would have been good for him to get steady work, and good for the Indians. Relief pitchers are always volatile. Like David Riske, he was always good every other year. Or R Perez, who went from dominant, to atrocious, to serviceable, to out of baseball.
July 31, 2013 - 12:01 PM EDT
Jensen Lewis, Jeremy Sowers were PED guys coming out of college- it was rampant at Vanderbilt. Vinnie, I don't know- my sense is it's more of a physical issue. The Indians could be in trouble late innings going forward. I am not convinced Chris Perez is back to his old self, whatever that was. He got squared up pretty good Monday nite- loud outs are warning signs and the Indians need to address this. I saw the White Sox let Jesse Crain guy for next to nothing- this guy is XX filthy if he's healthy. Something tells me Chris Antonetti and Ken Williams don't like dealing w one another or either Crain or Thornton would be in Cleveland now.
July 31, 2013 - 10:13 AM EDT
Oh, I definitely believe this is a situation to get Pestano right not to manage his control. I just mentioned it because by conincidence that is what may happen.
July 31, 2013 - 10:11 AM EDT
vinnie has 2 yrs 11 days of major league service going into this year. I sure hope that he isnt be sent out to limit or delay his options for service landmarks i hope it is merely a get comfortable with your stuff decision. a chance to go to c-bus and be dominate. Hopefully he doesnt take this demotion in a bad selfish way. I dont agree with it cause the last couple of times he has pitched he has looked but tito, calloway, and cash may see things on the movement of the various pitches that need to be ironed out and cant be done on a major league mound. However he has pitched well enough to stay in cleveland it was nice to acquire SCRABBLE however his numbers are way below his normal too. Maybe another shoe is about to drop. Peavy was a white sock upon the end of last nights game and now appears to be a red sock. so things can happen fast in game of baseball in late july. however i dont see a deal out there that makes us a better team without totally disassembling the farm syster. Scrabble didnt cost us anything that i can surmise herrera wasnt exactly in the high echelon of middle infield prospects.
July 31, 2013 - 9:37 AM EDT
If you look at Pestano's pitch usage he has really relied much more on his slider this year and thrown his fastball much less. That screams of a guy with no confidence in his fastball. Anyway, Joe, great point on Jensen Lewis. I am not sure it is to that degree yet with Vinnie as I still think it is a health or mechanical thing with him, but it does look like a similar situation indeed.
July 31, 2013 - 7:48 AM EDT
Somehow Vinnie is still averaging a strikeout per inning despite the loss in velo. That 1.5 WHIP isn't going to cut it, though. It looks like he may have lost confidence in his fastball so he's nibbling and that would explain the 19 walks in 33 innings.
Joe Chengery
July 31, 2013 - 3:44 AM EDT
I've said this previously: This reminds me a lot of Jensen Lewis in regards to his losing his velocity and his effectiveness, supposedly being healthy, and being a question mark going forward. I'm hopeful Pestano can regain what he's lost, which unfortunately, Lewis could not, and as a result, didn't last many more years in the Majors or at any level.

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