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Cleveland Indians Transactions: Vinnie Pestano optioned to Columbus, Marc Rzepczynski added to 25-man roster

The Indians make room for Rzepczynkski on the 25-man by making a surprising move.

Down, but certainly not out.
Down, but certainly not out.

Well, this comes as a bit of a shock:

So the three moves made today were:

Acquired LHP Marc Rzepczynkski from the St. Louis Cardinals for SS Juan Herrera (SSA)

Designated RHP Joe Martinez for Assignment (to make room for Rzepczynkski on the 40-man roster)

Optioned RHP Vinnie Pestano to Columbus (AAA) (to make room for Rzepczynkski on the 25-man roster)

The Indians didn't have to add Marc Rzepczynkski to the 25-man roster if they didn't want to. Because "Scrabble" has at least one option year remaining, the Indians could have had him pitch a couple of outings in Columbus, and then bring him up then. But apparently they feel that he's ready to get major-league hitters out, and he joins Rich Hill to give the Tribe bullpen two left-handed pitchers. We'll see how Francona manages the two southpaws, both of whom should not face a right-handed hitter if it can be helped.

Ok, well you can understand why the Indians wanted to add Scrabble to the roster as soon as they could. After all, they just traded for him. But then, who to send down? They certainly couldn't send down a position player (Chisenhall and Gomes would be the likeliest options, which tells you how likely that would have happened). So then you have the bullpen. There were three pitchers in the bullpen with options remaining: Cody Allen, Vinnie Pestano, and Bryan Shaw. Or they could have Designated Rich Hill for Assignment, although would be an odd thing given that Hill had pitched better than Scrabble in 2013. So there wasn't an easy decision.

Ultimately the Indians decided to option Vinnie Pestano, a move thought unfathomable prior to this year. In 2011 and 2012 Pestano was one of the best relievers in baseball, nevermind the Indians. But Vinnie hasn't been the same pitcher this year. He's competed whenever he's been put into a game, and for a time managed to hold down the closer's role, but of late he's been relegated to long relief, only coming into situations in which the game isn't in doubt. That's a far cry from the high-leverage usage Pestano was used to in 2011 and 2012, but it was appropriate. Pestano doesn't have the life on his fastball that he had a year ago, and right now he's just another bullpen arm.

We'll get some statements from the Indians soon, but I'm guessing that they are sending him to Columbus now so that (a) he can pitch in games regularly, which he needs to do in order to keep his arm in shape, and (b) possibly regain his former prowess for a late August or early September return to Cleveland.

I'm sure Vinnie is not real happy about going to Columbus, and I'm sure his teammates aren't going to be happy seeing him go. He seemed to be a big part of the atmosphere in the clubhouse, and one of the team leaders. Nobody wants to leave the majors for AAA, especially someone that has had success in the majors, and I'm sure the news came as a shock. But if Vinnie can go to Columbus, pitch every other day, work on some things that you just can't work on at the major league level, and show improvement, he'll not only be back in Cleveland by the end of the August, but perhaps back in his old role as the eighth inning man. At least, that's what everyone's hoping will happen.

Here's the 25-man/40-man roster as of right now:


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