The first half of the 2013 season could be seen as either successful, frustrating or maybe both for the Cleveland Indians. They were good enough to be right next to first place for the majority of the season but didn’t seem to have what it took to get over the top. That is what the MLB trade season is for. The GM is to go out and get whatever improvements he can find that will give his team the best chance to win. The question after the trade deadline for every team is; did they get the job done? Do the Indians have a better chance to win now than they did before the deadline?
I believe they did even though the only big move they made wasn’t all that big. They brought Marc Rzepczynski in from the St. Louis Cardinals to be a left-handed presence in their bullpen. More accurately they brought Rzepczynski over from the Cardinals triple-A affiliate. Most people just off hand would wonder why the Indians would bring someone in to help their MLB club that hadn’t even pitched in the majors for most of the season. That’s a great question.
The answer is found not in how terrible Rzepczynski’s stats were before the Cards sent him down in April but how bad the Indians bullpen stats were. The lefties in the Indians’ bullpen combined for a 6.47 ERA this year. That’s just a little lower than Rzepczynski’s was when the Cardinals sent him packing. Obviously just like the Cardinals wanted a change the Indians wanted one as well. Take a look around and the market was extremely scarce for the most part.
As a GM you want to improve the team without giving away more than you should. The Indians did that with this move. Rzepczynski’s stats were in the minor leagues were right about where his averages are for his career. He’s been throwing just over a 3 ERA in triple-A which is a ton better than the Indians currently have been doing from the lefty side of their ‘pen. In other words Rzepczynski is better without giving up too much.
Obviously an 8-game winning streak speaks for itself. The Indians are already playing better than they were and with the addition of Rzepczynski, will be just a little bit better. Who knows how high the top is or how high the Indians will need to be to get over the hump. What they do know is that they are better after the deadline than they were before it. Good move and non-moves Tribe GM.