The first Japanese player signed by the Indians and once hailed as one of the organization’s best pitching prospects, Kazuhito Tadano never found his niche with Cleveland. Designated for assignment on Saturday, he was traded Tuesday to the Athletics for outfield prospect Ramon Alvarado.
A 25-year-old righthander, Tadano split 2004 between Triple-A Buffalo and Cleveland, but he made just one big league appearance in 2005. He spent almost the entire season at Buffalo, going 5-5, 4.39 in 32 games (eight starts). He had an 86-22 K-BB ratio in 96 innings, while opponents batted .277 with 16 homers against him. He uses a fastball that sits around 90 mph, and has a slider and splitter that can be plus pitches at times. But he doesn’™t have a consistent out pitch that has worked in Triple-A or the majors, and he’ll fall into ruts where he throws too many hittable strikes. Oakland assigned him to Triple-A Sacramento to open the season. He has a career 1-1, 4.47 record in 15 big league games (four starts).
Alvarado, 20, signed out of Venezuela in 2001 and made his U.S. debut last year, batting .296/.412/.497 with six homers, 32 RBIs and nine steals in 48 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He has average tools across the board, most notably power. He’s still raw, as he overswings and tries to pull too many pitches at the plate and lacks instincts the outfield. He has enough arm strength to fit in right field.