News and Transactions –Cueto, Esposito and Slowey

It wasone and out for Johnny Cueto, sent back to high Single–A Sarasota on Wednesday
from the Triple-A International League. It wasn’t what I expected after viewing
the results, but I can’t protest too much. It’s likely the right move for
development reasons, his high-minor start possibly related more to the lack of hitting
in the International League than prowess. Other than overage college draft
picks, few can afford to skip the Double-A test. I’m guessing there will be a
few changes to the Reds situation between now and the All-Star break; Cueto
will probably be the recipient of a permanent promotion at that time.


The Cardinals
called up Brian Esposito from Triple-A Memphis to replace Yadier Molina who will
be out 4-6 weeks with a fractured left wrist. Garry Bennett will likely assume
the regular catching duties for the time, and Esposito will be the back up.
Ironically, Esposito profiles a little like Bennett as the 28-year-old is an
outstanding defensive catcher who can’t hit a lick. He might someday be the
back up to Bryan Anderson, the Cardinals offensive catcher of the future who is
currently hitting .284 with three home runs for Double-A Springfield.


The Twins made it official on Wednesday,
purchasing the contract of Kevin Slowey, optioning Julio DePaula to Triple-A
and placing Jesse Crain on the 60-Day DL. I spoke about this on Sports Byline
USA Radio
Wednesday afternoon. Slowey is the second best pitching prospect to
be called up this year, but unlike Tim Lincecum, I think some — most notably
fantasy leaguers — may end up disappointed. The skill set of Slowey doesn’t
suggest his numbers will be great in 2007. He’s in training, developing at the
major league level. The pitcher he’s often compared to by others is Brad Radke, and
I’m not certain how many remember how badly he struggled when first called up
as a 22-year-old prospect back in 1995, not becoming a consistent pitcher until
1997. I won’t go as far as to suggest it’ll be Radke-bad, certainly Slowey is
an improvement over Ramon Ortiz at present, but there’s much in evidence to
suggest a lengthily learning curve.


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