Tribe deals Rzepczynski to Friars for Almonte
OAKLAND -- Even after learning he had been traded to the Padres on Friday afternoon, lefty Marc Rzepczynski stuck around for a bit with his now former Indians teammates. The pitcher said his farewells and made a point to chat briefly with Indians manager Terry Francona before leaving the Coliseum.
Shortly before the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, Cleveland shipped Rzepczynski to San Diego in exchange for Minor League outfielder Abraham Almonte. Francona said it was tough to see the reliever go, especially given the scene that unfolded in the visitors' clubhouse.
"It was kind of bittersweet. It happened late," Francona said. "I was watching him say goodbye to everybody. He didn't just run out of here. He stayed around and said goodbye to everybody and told me how much he enjoyed it. You get close to guys. Then, when you have to say goodbye to them, it kind of hits you a little bit. Hopefully, this will be good for him."
The deal was the third of the week for Cleveland, which sent outtfielder Brandon Moss to the Cardinals on Thursday for pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky and traded outfielder David Murphy to the Angels on Tuesday for shortstop prospect Eric Stamets. All three trades shed some salary for both this season and next for the Tribe.
The 29-year-old Rzepczynski, who was was acquired by Cleveland prior to the 2013 non-waiver Trade Deadline from the Cardinals, posted a 2.70 ERA in 145 games as a member of the bullpen over the last three seasons. This year, the lefty had a 4.43 ERA in 45 games, while earning $2.4 million through arbitration. Rzepczynski will be eligible for arbitration again for next season.
As a lefty specialist, Rzepczynski had given up an opponents' batting average of .264 against left-handed batters this season. Righties such as Ryan Webb (.184), Cody Allen (.174), Bryan Shaw (.128) and Jeff Manship (.118) had better marks out of the 'pen for the Indians.
"We're in a situation where, we probably had righties that were getting lefties out better than him," Francona said. "Truth be told, when relievers start making some money, you've got to be the left-on-left guy."
The 26-year-old Almonte, who has been optioned to Triple-A Columbus, has split this season between San Diego and Triple-A El Paso. In 31 games for the Padres, the switch-hitter posted a .204 average and .530 OPS. He has hit .275 with four homers, 24 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs, 43 runs and 11 stolen bases in 61 Triple-A games this year, serving mostly as a center fielder.
Almonte has turned in a .233/.283/.336 slash line in 115 Major League games in parts of three seasons with the Mariners and Padres. He has the ability to play all three outfield positions.
"He's an athletic outfielder who can play all three spots and he has some Major League experience," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "We think he will be able to contribute for us at some point this year in the Major Leagues."
Prior to Friday's game against the A's, the Indians also purchased the contract of outfielder Jerry Sands, who can fill in at first base or the corner spots. Cleveland also activated righty Josh Tomlin from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Columbus, and outrighted righty Toru Murata off the 40-man roster, while keeping him at Triple-A.
Francona hinted that Cleveland may have some moves coming soon to account for the loss of Rzepczynski in the bullpen.
As for the offense that was removed with the trades of Murphy and Moss, Antonetti said the Indians plan on evaluating what they have in the fold before looking for upgrades in the offseason.
"I don't think we'll address it externally between now and the offseason," Antonetti said. "The opportunities in the outfield and other places on the team will come from guys that are already in the organization. And then, at the end of the season, we'll sit down, assess where we are and where we may have needs. At that point, we'll have better information and a better understanding of what our internal alternatives are."