A mere three years after establishing himself as the relief jewel of the Indians' farm system, Tony Sipp is getting called up to Cleveland for the first time. In 2005 and 2006 the lefty Sipp struck out 210 batters in 177 innings between A, A+, and AA before succumbing to elbow injuries and going under the knife for Tommy John and disappearing for two years.
In 2008, Sipp was impressive again, striking out 46 and walking 11 in 33 innings of work and in his brief initial foray into AAA this year has not been terrible, though the sample is too small to really mean
Sipp's apperance in Cleveland doesn't have nearly as much to do with Sipp as it does with Rafael Perez. The Indians elected to break camp with only two lefthanded relievers, Perez and Jackson. Zachkson was only on the roster as a long man and he has reverse splits anyway. Perez eliminated the need for an additional lefty because there was no reason to have a LOOGY when you had Rafael Perez, who could just get everyone out.
Of course, now Perez has gone from one of the best relievers on the planet to one of the worst, sporting a 16.71 ERA and more walks than innings pitched. This total lack of a late inning lefthander has hamstrung Wedge to the point that tonight against the Royals the designated ROOGY, Joe Smith, actually gave up two critical hits to lefthanded batters. When your ROOGY is facing lefties in the 8th inning, it's time to make a move.
The only possible options in Columbus' bullpen were Sipp and Rich Rundles and the Indians have gone with the higher ceiling option. Wedge was classically robotic about Sipp's role but until Rafael Perez shows that he's righted the ship, we'll probably see Sipp get a chance to show his stuff against lefthanders in high leverage situations.
While it's never pleasant to be making moves this early in the season it's nice to be calling up a guy like Sipp as opposed to, I don't know, Rich Rundles. Sipp has always had monster stuff and numbers to go with it; hopefully it translates into immediate results at the big league level. On top of that, it's Sipp's time; he'll turn 26 in July. Congratulations, good luck, and godspeed, Tony.
Jackson is going down to Columbus because he's the most expendable member of the pitching staff as when you have no good relievers a long man is an unnecessary luxury. This is Jackson's final option year.