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Cleto lost via waivers – expect more of the same

On Sunday, the Kansas City Royals announced they have claimed right-handed pitcher Maikel Cleto off outright waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals and optioned him to Triple-A Omaha.

Though just 24 years of age, the Dominican native was in the Cardinals organization for almost 2 ½ seasons, all on the 40-man roster. Cleto had been elevated to the 40-man by Seattle prior to trading him to St. Louis for Brendan Ryan in December 2010.

In other words, 2013 is Cleto’s final option season. Whether with St. Louis or somewhere else, he will either have to prove he is ready for the majors or disappear from any organization’s 40-man roster by next opening day.

Some postulated that the Cardinals moved Cleto to make a spot for recently-demoted Tyler Lyons in Triple-A Memphis’ rotation. In fact, that could be accomplished without risking losing Cleto via waivers simply by a shift to the bullpen. Instead, it seems to me that the Cardinals came to the conclusion that Cleto did not have a clear major league future.

But this post really is not about Cleto, he of the upper-90’s fastball and fleeting control. It is not about Eduardo Sanchez, to whom the same thing happened last month. It is not about Chuckie Fick or Adam Ottavino, lost via waivers last season or Blake King and Andrew Brown, among Cardinals claimed by other organizations in 2011.

It is about a Cardinals organization with a number of very promising prospects nearing the majors who are pushing earlier prospects, now marginal major league suspects, out of the picture.

Though the Cardinals did not immediately put a replacement player for Cleto on their 40-man roster, there are certainly candidates available when the next need arises in St. Louis.

Sure, Cleto could become a star with Kansas City, but that seems unlikely. Even if he gets straightened out and turns into a good middle reliever like Ottavino has become this season for Colorado, the Cardinals have others equally suited for that role and with greater roster flexibility in the future.

For the overall health of a prosperous organization, this kind of move is a good thing.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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73 Responses to “Cleto lost via waivers – expect more of the same”

  1. crdswmn says:

    Cleto needed to go. His control was awful and was not getting any better. Hope Marte is next.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    ML pitchers have to be able to throw strikes. Cleto’s control has significantly degraded since 2012. The Cards are not going to give him another audition and he has no trade value given his 2013 stats. Its good to let him start afresh with another team.

  3. blingboy says:

    53 walks in 53 innings is pretty bad.

    I guess KC figures they have nothing to lose.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    It might be time to send down Pete Kozma. He’s done a good job defensively, but seems in offensive free-fall. Time to give playing time to Ryan Jackson and Dan Descalso at SS.

  5. blingboy says:

    I see where Matheny ticked off Wainy. Adam needs to understand there is only one sacred cow and its not him.

    • crdswmn says:

      I was white hot with rage at Matheny when I went to bed last night. After sleeping on it……I’m still white hot with rage. If Matheny were in front of me he’d be singing soprano for a week.

  6. Bw52 says:

    Matheny is the manager.His call.You want to be angry at someone be mad at the inept hitters who looked like little leaguers versus Texas,

    • crdswmn says:

      Don’t you dare dictate to me who I should be mad at. I don’t give a rat’s posterior if he is the fricking Pope, he screwed up and he needs to be accountable. Not letting Waino finish that inning was criminal on his part; his actions caused Waino to be saddled with a loss he didn’t deserve after the way he pitched.

      • Bw52 says:

        Who the hell do you think you are? Are you above reproach? Your idol got pulled and now you are ranting and nobody can disagree with your opinion.Guess what Matheny made the call and that`s why he is the manager.Lighten up lady.

        • blingboy says:

          Having the hot rookie Rosenthal relieve Wainwright with the tying run on base is like having the hot rookie Adams pinch hit for Holliday with the tying run aboard.

          The latter will never happen so why should the former.

          Outrage is called for Bw.

        • crdswmn says:

          I think I am someone who deserves to be treated with some respect instead of dictated to and patronized by you. You come on here when someone says something you don’t like, and respond in a surly and dictatorial tone as if you are the arbiter of what people should think and feel. Then you get all self righteous when you get called on it.

          I expect Brian to delete this, but here goes. Bite me.

          • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

            Yeah baby……………………………. you all are on that precipitous ledge of self realization…………. these are the moments when you all sense the complex process that is boiling in the MM/Mo mind……….
            Was this about catcher MM sensing that Waino was bleeding out? Was this the guy that is doing everything he can to get Yadi and Adam to start that all star game………… was he trying to really keep Rosie out of the 8th…… giving him a chance at a short inning and the patch the 8th in a possible prolonged game? Game was already tied……………. Adam complaining because he wanted the chance at a win, helping insure his AS start? ……….. bad news……… this slide will last awhile…. Rosenthal is in mechanical no mans land……… he isn’t using his starter approach……. or his closer approach………..he didn’t jump to Boras for no reason……….. the hyperbola around Wacha is covering something…. watch that………… Scrabble is groomed and ready for the trading block……… he isn’t coming back…… they are up to something right now…… the money more important than falling into third……..??????????are they looking for help…….or future players???????? lets watch.

            • CariocaCardinal says:

              amazing how a short losing streak brings back the doomsdayers and fiction writers. Go pull up your post that has us in 3rd or 4th place by the end of May – pretty sure there was a guarantee attached to that – then go drink some sour milk.

              • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                Mouthy noisy South American…………..that really has never been there I’d guess……….. you are about one bad week away from third place……….. looks like its coming……. short??????? trend is the right word……..Molina and Jay are speculating…..Jay to survive and Molina to hold on to his All star vote position…….. Jay’s agent probably had the talk about having a career in MLB…….. go away……

          • Bw52 says:

            Real classy lady.Nobody was dictating to you.Every comment is not a personal attack.Matheny is THE MANAGER.It was his choice to make the change.Just because you are angry there is no reason to bitch at anyone who comments.

            • crdswmn says:

              You know what BW, I don’t want to continue this fight. You might not think you are dictating, but you obviously don’t realize that your style of “commenting” rubs people the wrong way. You write blunt, terse sentences that sound like you think the person you are commenting to is an idiot. You don’t account for differences of opinion in a way that makes the person feel like you at least respect their opinion, even if you disagree. You just basically say “you’re wrong” and that’s that.

              Just because YOU think the Manager shouldn’t be questioned, doesn’t mean the rest of us do or are wrong for doing so.

              • Bw52 says:

                You know what Crdswmn I think the very exact thing about you and your style of commenting.So maybe a look in the mirror before you cast any stones lady.

            • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

              Adam was laboring……..MM asked his pitching coach mid at bat, “if he loses him, I have to make a move” …….he agreed………….. Kozma cost him his strategy……… Which was going to be a short appearance for Rosie….no loss for Adam……….

  7. kray66 says:

    Cards got swept and I didn’t see Berkman play at all (is he on the DL)? Pretty terrible weekend.

    I didn’t watch much of last night’s game, so perhaps my anger would be shifted towards Matheny. But Holliday was terrible Saturday. Had the start of a nice rally going late in the game and he hits into his second inning-ending double play. I know there are stats out that say otherwise and lots of arguments made, but he will never be a clutch player to me. It’s almost like he’s gambling and throwing games/shaving runs.

    I guess at least Yadi has jumped to the top of the All-Star voting. One bright spot . . . . .

  8. blingboy says:

    We are about a week short of the half way point, so I hope we can all agree it is not ‘still early’.

    Holliday is 6th among the starting 8 in batting average. If you include Descaso and Adams, then he is 8th of 10.

    Matt is 5th or 6th of the 8 in OBP, SLG, OPS, doubles, extra base hits and total bases.

    He’s 8th out of 8 in BABIP. If you include DD and Adams, he’s 10th out of 10. That is probably explained, at least partly, by the fact he is 7th out of the 8 in line drive rate.

    So if you are one of those still arguing that Holliday is, or even might be, the team’s best overall hitter, get a grip.

    • kray66 says:

      Holliday is the team leader in one stat: GIDPs!

      20 for Holliday
      8 for Craig
      5 for Yadi

      Move him in the lineup and watch an old injury suddenly flare up!

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      They will make changes…….but you can’t move Holiday……… they pitch around Craig to get to him……….. they don’t have a 2 save for Carlos……. Jay made adjustments…….competition has adapted………. his agent is telling him to start hitting Hr’s or its over……….. Molina? that will eventually eat you up…… Kozma probably can’t handle the pressure without compromising his defense (more that it is) You can’t flop Holiday and Beltran………. Carlos might pout about that terrible move…….. the only real solution is Holiday getting life……….he is negotiating the same competitive/tactical posture every game…………… As it has always been……….. if Holiday pulled something and took a 15 day……be the best thing that could happen.

      • blingboy says:

        They would pitch around Craig to get to Holliday. Good point. Can’t move Carlos. Another good point. There are two possibilities, which do you like?

        1) Shift Craig and Yadi to 3 and 4, with Matt 5.

        2) Swap Holliday and Yadi, bring up Taveras, Wong and Jackson and replace the whole bottom of the lineup, shifting one of them to 5th if events warrant.

        • Bw52 says:

          How many DPs will Holliday hit into with leadfoot Yadi on first ahead of him.Possibly a new league record.

          • blingboy says:

            I guess I forgot how fast Carlos is.

            • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

              non factor……….. Beltran isn’t breaking up many DP’s……….Molina as the team hitter has been great…….he is pressing the power issue now for show………Jay too……..for a future…….. this is going to happen with all the Beltran contract talk……or the hero on the way up talk …… or the pitch them in tactic……….. anybody else going to try that?????????? its a game of adjustments…….who is going to make a few……….

  9. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    “One of the reasons the Cardinals returned ascending prospect Michael Wacha to Class AAA Memphis was so they can control his outings and limit his innings to avoid undo stress on the young righthander’s arm.

    The process already has started.

    In a move that general manager John Mozeliak said was necessary to “bank some innings for later in the year,” Wacha will skip at least two turns through the Triple-A rotation and do his work in bullpen sessions. The righty, taken 19th overall in last year’s draft, is not scheduled to make his next start until July 2, though the Cards have kept his schedule flexible as they monitor his work.”

    No reason for this article………… is there?………… they are trying to control their market appearance…….. this means to me that they are shopping…….. and negotiating……. there is no other value in it …….

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      The first must read article by Bernie will be, well, his first. Most likely before the season is out Bernie will be writing about how Holiday is the best value in baseball.

      • blingboy says:

        I think you miss the point CC. The meaningful thing about the article is that it is there.

        • CariocaCardinal says:

          You’re right. I missed your point. And I still do. I can only guess you think this article was “planted” by the team for some motive. Sorry, I’m not drinking Westie’s snake venom.

          • blingboy says:

            Not that either, although it is possible the team thinks there is a need to prepare the fan base and media for a change in Holliday’s role.

            The thing that strikes me as meaningful is that Holliday’s struggles and gently declining performance the last couple years, together with the approaching need to amend his role, is now able to be discussed matter-of-factly by the local sports media. We are finally getting beyond the denial stage where media types who consider themselves the sober voice of reason run through the prescribed checklist of reasons to be unconcerned.

            • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

              Interesting……………. are you suggesting that Adams alters things for the next week at DH? …..which could be the beginning of a trend/exploration? ………… Along with a Yadi mini slump? Adams 3 holiday 5? I’d have to see it ……………… but then if it worked…………. what about the return to NL rules?……to many hitters with flees to scratch………….

              • blingboy says:

                The opportunity presented by the string of games with the DH, far from Busch, is the exact thing I’ve been thinking about. But maybe the article’s timing is coincidence.

                I am also thinking we will see a position player call up pretty soon.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Thanks for sharing the link as I would not have seen it otherwise. The points are well presented and backed up with data. No excessive emotion or even a call to action. Definitely worth reading.

  10. blingboy says:

    Holliday hitting fifth tonight.

  11. blingboy says:

    1. Matt Carpenter (L) 2B

    2. Yadier Molina (R) C

    3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF

    4. Allen Craig (R) LF

    5. Matt Holliday (R) DH

    6. Matt Adams (L) 1B

    7. David Freese (R) 3B

    8. Jon Jay (L) CF

    9. Pete Kozma (R) SS

  12. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    You were on this one. Better pray that Molina isn’t eying those Crawford boxes all night. Carlos gets saddled up………but then he usually kicks Houston’s butt. Lets see what happens.

    • blingboy says:

      Yes, lets see what happens. I do like the three all stars at the top. Clever.

      I hope Craig does not hurt himself out there in LF.

    • blingboy says:

      Well, it looks like a pinball game going on. We’ll have to wait another day to find out anything. So far, so good, though. Nobody froze up in their new roles.

  13. blingboy says:

    It would be interesting to see what this middle of the order configuration does in a close game. And one not marred by such unpredictable ball/strike calls.

    Will Mike do any tinkering for tonight?

    • Brian Walton says:

      Quite possible with the lefty Bedard pitching.

      • blingboy says:

        Yes, exactly. The lefty provides a good justification for tinkering.

        Having endured a loss of tactical agility in the middle of the lineup in recent years, the organization will surely want to avoid that trap going forward.

        Something I think Mike should do is take Yadi out of the 2 spot and shift Craig and Holliday up to 3,4. Not that Craig shouldn’t be 4, or Holliday 5, but only to make the point, to fans, media and players, that going forward, nobody owns a specific spot in the lineup, and shifting guys around does not indicate any dissatifaction with that player’s performance.

        I want to clarify that I do not think such a message needs to be directed toward Craig, or anyone in particular. But I do think sending it would make Mike’s life simpler down the road. Doing it tonight, after Craig had such a monster game, would avoid any possible thought that a message was being directed toward him.

        • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

          This is solid thinking BB…………………. if there is a fallacy, it is in the believe that the way things “are”, somehow is not just an extension of FO mandates and controls………….. The Holiday contract with it’s no-trade status, is still the cornerstone of their planning…………………and if they move him, it is for their own reasons…………….. I see Billy cashing in some equity right now………that could bring a major player on to the scene ………… the A’s series should be interesting…………they don’t use payroll…..they teach baseball………..

          • blingboy says:

            Agreed, but the way things ‘are’ evolves as the landscape evolves.

            After this year, the team owes Holliday $52M, a pile to be sure. But unlike at any time since Matt and Bill signed that contract, the team owes others more. $60M to Yadi and $100M to Wainwright.

            Craig, with barely over two years service time, is into them about half of what Holliday is. Think about that for a moment. Then consider that others who, like Craig had not even made their ML debut when Matt signed his contract, will be signing up before too long.

            If Matt’s contract is the cornerstone of the planning as you say, that plan is being overtaken by events. IMO, if anything, recent events suggest the org has back burnered the ‘plan’.

            • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

              I agree in principle………… Lets see whether Holiday responds……… So far……no good…… they do seem to playing to win at this point…….I like that…… if Holiday slumps further? what will they risk?

              • blingboy says:

                I’m mostly just waiting to see how it goes in the AL parks, and what Mike does once the DH goes away again.

                Meanwhile, the next thing which will be able to be discussed by those who fancy themselves ‘above the frey’, but which is not to be mentioned as of now, is that Taveras’s rise has stalled this year, mainly because he hasn’t been able to stay on the field, or be totally healthy when he is on it. He is back on the Memphis DL because he aggravated the high ankle sprain that apparently wasn’t healed up well enough. He has missed about 100 PAs so far, his OPS trails 4 of the regular starters there in Memphis, and he is barely out-SLG-ing Ryan Jackson. He is alleged to be the best hitting prospect the org has had since Pujols, but he isn’t right now, nor has he been since arriving in AAA. That would put a stick in the spokes of any plan. The sober-voice-of-reason crowd will soon run out of reasons to ignore the reality of the situation.

                • Brian Walton says:

                  Baseball Prospectus did not get your memo. On Monday, they announced their mid-season update to their national top 50 prospect list. Oscar is #2 across the minor leagues.

                  • blingboy says:

                    They are above the frey, of course, and must remain so.

                    I assume they did not mention that since his promotion to AAA his ISO has dropped precipitously or that he is swinging at pitches outside the strike zone twice as much as ever before.

                    They will be able to mention it pretty soon.

    • blingboy says:

      Taveras could pull a Miller, certainly.

      I take it you do not attach any significance to the fact that now that is what it would take.

  14. blingboy says:

    Wednesday lineup:

    1. Matt Carpenter (L) 2B
    2. Yadier Molina (R) 1B
    3. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
    4. Allen Craig (R) RF
    5. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    6. David Freese (R) 3B
    7. Shane Robinson (R) CF
    8. Pete Kozma (R) SS
    9. Tony Cruz (R) C

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Yadi at first……….wow……….only against Houston methinks………..

      • Nutlaw says:

        Batting second, starting first baseman Yadier Molina. Mind blown.

        So if they weren’t playing with a DH, Molina would be catching and the nine spot goes to the pitcher. The fact that Wigginton can’t crack the max RHB lineup means that no one trusts him any more. A .470 OPS is just silly on the best team in baseball. Dump him and call up Ryan Jackson.

        • blingboy says:

          I’m thinking we will see a position player call up pretty soon. Jackson for Wiggy seems like the obvious thing.

          My take is that Wiggy has done all of the right things apart from on field results, and the org will/is going to pains to find a way to end it besides just flat out kicking him to the curb.

          If so, I approve 100% even though it means we essentially play with a 24 man roster for a while. We want players to know they can sign with St. Louis and it will not blow up in their face no matter what happens, so long as they buy in and give it their best. I think we have gotten total commitment and effort from Wigginton. The end is near, though.

          • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

            They are trading Jackson………..along with Wiggy…………I know, who wants Wiggy? that’s the point isn’t it…………. just another way to cook the books……….

            The problem with Matheny’s trick lineup against the lowly Astro’s …………. now starts to appear obvious…….. guys like Freese…Descalso……. all with their careers and jobs on the line see it as an opportunity to “speculate”…………Freese striking out with a HR cut with Holiday on third and 1 out, in a 3/2 counts was cruel to watch……. Danny couldn’t put the ball in play either, trying to be aggressive ……… this is what a rookie coach does…….. it seems like a good idea… protect MH’s feelings…..but look…….now its a dog fight tomorrow…..and then Oakland is going to kick their azzes………. clever rarely works when your purpose is just to alter someones perception…….. you most often just fool yourself.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Its strange how the Cards have been so bold with rookie relief pitchers, keeping Boggs, Salas, and Rzepcynski at Memphis.

          Meanwhile, no Ryan Jackson, even though Kozma is over-exposed offensively and a near automatic out.

          The obvious move is to release Wigginton and elevate Jackson to start giving him some starts at SS. Jackson can help.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            During June, Kozma’s OPS is 535. This is Brendan Ryan, Furcal territory.
            However Jackson has a 900 OPS at Memphis versus left-handers. He hits them. Jackson should be in the majors and getting all starts versus lefties.

          • Bw52 says:

            As a Wiggy backer I hoped he would adjust to his role and do okay.It seems he doesn`t do well in a PH role .I would expect to see a move either thru a release or DFA.I think Cards either bring up Ryan Jackson or try one of the AAA vets as a RH bat off the bench.
            Also read that Wainwright apologized to Matheny .Now get the clutch hitting going and leave Holiday 5th.

            • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

              The question is …………. does DeWitt have a bigger ego as a front runner? than just being a business man? He isn’t going to eat 5 million if he can hide it in a maneuver of some sort…… they have exposed their young pitching…… he will protect that position……… they are up to something….. Jackson is a good looking kid……. someone asked them to show his utility prowess…..they did…….have to guess he is already gone.

              About Holiday……… he seems to be more emotionally evolved …….. He will hit 3rd plenty…….. they just need to be able to make the statement.

              • blingboy says:

                I too took notice of Holliday’s steal of 3rd. Very Yadi-like.

                If the Cards have been looking at trading Jackson, they may be re-thinking it.

                For one thing, trade him for what? Or trade him and Wiggy for what?

                Secondly, while the Cards have certainly planned on Kozma looking more like his normal self at the plate, they have every reason to re-think their stated position that they have enough offense elsewhere and just need reliable D from shortstop. Enough Offense in the sense of league leading numbers does not equal enough offense to stay atop the Central Division. The whole bottom of the order, Freese, Jay and Kozma are not contributing in any sort of reliable way. So I expect something to happen there, and Jackson is the thing that presents itself.

              • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                Phillies just brought in McDonald………. for cash……..that lessens my expectation for Lee by 50 %.

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