Indians Acquire Anthony Reyes

The Deal
The Cardinals traded 26-year-old righthander Anthony Reyes to the Indians for Double-A reliever Luis Perdomo.
The Big Leaguers
Reyes ranked 47th in 2005 and then 41st in 2006 in the Top 100 Prospects rankings and was the top prospect in the Cardinals organization each year. Reyes, a 15th-round pick in 2003 after spending four years at Southern California, has a solid Triple-A track record but has yet to parlay that into major league success.

Since Reyes reached Triple-A Memphis in 2005 at age 23, he has a 3.17 ERA in 304 innings, 77 walks (2.3 per nine) and 298 strikeouts (8.8 per nine) with the Redbirds. In the big leagues, however, Reyes has been below-average with a 5.38 ERA in 220 2/3 innings, 84 walks (3.4 per nine) and 168 strikeouts (6.9 per nine). Of the 182 pitchers with at least 200 big league innings since 2006, Reyes’ 5.56 ERA in that stretch ranks 172nd.

And of course, as some headlines have noted, Reyes started and won the first game of the 2006 World Series against Detroit, when he limited the Tigers to two runs through eight innings. He had lost his previous and only other postseason start, when he walked four and allowed two runs in four innings against the Mets in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

Reyes throws two fastballs: a mid-90s four-seam fastball and a low-90s two-seamer, though he has leaned more heavily on his four-seamer in the big leagues. He complements those fastballs with an 81-83 mph slider and a changeup that comes in around the same speed that he uses mostly against lefthanded batters.

While there appears to be some raw ability there, Reyes has been ineffective in the big leagues and has battled elbow problems throughout his career, which might be related to his funky arm action. Reyes entered the season with one year and 89 days of service time, which means he won’t be arbitration-eligible until after the 2009 season.

The Prospect
Perdomo, 24, got off to a late start, debuting in the Dominican Summer League at age 19 in 2003. He spent three seasons in the DSL before coming to the U.S. to pitch 20 games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2006. Perdomo’s first year in full-season ball came last year at age 23 with low Class A Lakewood. This season, Perdomo had an 0.93 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 17 walks in 39 innings with high Class A Kinston, which he represented as a Carolina League all-star. In late June, Perdomo earned a promotion to Double-A Akron, where he had a 17-7 K-BB mark and a 3.52 ERA in 15 1/3 innings.

Despite being old for his level, the 6-foot, 170-pound Perdomo offers an intriguing package coming out of the bullpen, seeing as he has two pitches that grade out as at least plus. His fastball sits at 94 mph and touches 95. His slider might be his best pitch, though, as it’s a hard 86-88 offering with good tilt that has proven to be lethal against righthanded batters (see table below). Perdomo has a loose, quick arm with clean arm action.

LUIS PERDOMO L/R SPLITS, 2007-2008
HITTERS AVG OBP SLG OPS BB SO HR BB% K% TBF
Lefties .236 .319 .400 .719 21 46 5 10.1% 24.5% 188
Righties .136 .237 .182 .419 31 95 2 9.8% 32.2% 295

*BB% excludes intentional walks

The problem for Perdomo has been control, as he’s already 24 and hasn’t shown the ability to throw strikes frequently enough for someone his age.

Quick Take
Acquiring a 24-year-old reliever with only 15 innings above A-ball wasn’t the value the Cardinals had expected Reyes would provide the club. But Perdomo is only in his second full season in the U.S., his stuff is very good and he could eventually become an effective big league reliever if he can harness his control.

Reyes has struggled to command and have conviction in his two-seam fastball, but the Indians might be the ideal landing spot for him, seeing as Cleveland has developed sinkerballers like Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook and Aaron Laffey in the recent past. Reyes will come at the league minimum and then likely won’t fetch much in arbitration, unless he performs well, in which case the trade would already be a success for Cleveland.

But unleashing that success won’t be easy for the Indians, which is why they were able to acquire Reyes in the first place. Perhaps the opportunity to work with a different organization’s development staff will benefit him, but Reyes will have to do that developing in the more difficult American League. 

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