Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tony Sipp nabs his first tour of duty with Indians

Relief pitcher Tony Sipp was called up by the Cleveland Indians after last night's game to help support a bullpen that has been nothing short of terrible so far in 2009.  To make room for Sipp, the Indians sent down fellow-lefty Zach Jackson.

Tony Sipp was on the fast-track to the Indians' bullpen in 2007.  Sipp was a mainstay in the top 10 Indians' prospect lists, and was on the shortlist of potential closers in the coming years.  Then came the Tommy John surgery after he was shut down for half of 2007.  He wouldn't find his way into a game until the middle of 2008.  Now he's healthy, and has finally reached his dream of playing with the Indians.

Sipp, a power-armed lefty, will likely take the place of fellow lefty Rafael Perez, while Eric Wedge and the Tribe coaching staff tries to right the ship on a season that has gone terribly wrong.  Wedge stated earlier in the week that Perez would stay with the big-league club, but wouldn't be put into pressure-packed situations.  In other words, Perez won't be seeing the light of day in close games in the later innings.

Enter Tony Sipp.

Sipp's best pitch is his slider, but also has an excellent fastball clocked in the lower-to-mid 90's, with plus movement.  Tony Lastoria, author of Indians Prospects Insider, the most knowledgeable site with regards to the Indians minor league system, thinks that Sipp's best pitch could turn out to be his developing change-up.  Mark this down now, he's going to be an elite pitcher at the back-end of this bullpen...perhaps as early as this year.

Sons of Geronimo is a big fan, and hopes that this is Sipp's opportunity to make a long overdue splash in the majors.

Zach Jackson's misfortune, after the jump...

Zach Jackson was sent down to make room for Sipp.  The move is an enigma to me.  Jackson seems to be another forgotten arm in the Tribe pen.  He's a lefty, like Sipp, but apparently not capable of pitching late in the game.  Sipp certainly is, so the Indians made the move to send the long-inning specialist to Buffalo to get more work.  Unfortunately for Jackson, I don't see him ever finding a long-term place in the Indians pitching staff because of Eric Wedge's lack of insight in using long-relievers.  Look for Jackson to either be released, part of a trade, or left to rot in Columbus.  Either way, he certainly deserved a bit more consideration.  Perhaps the better move was to send Perez down for a few weeks, then bring him back when he's straightened out for either Sipp, or for Jackson at that point.

At the end of the day, this move should bolster the back-end of the bullpen.  It should only be a matter of time before Jon Meloan makes his debut as well.

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