Valdes up as Cardinals continue changes

The Cardinals continued their renovation of the bullpen today as they called up Raul Valdes from Memphis and optioned Maikel Cleto back to the minor leagues.

The move really reflects just how poorly the Cardinals bullpen has pitched in recent days. Cleto, I believe, had the Cardinals’ longest active scoreless innings streak at 1.1 innings.

Valdes, however, hopefully will solidify the Cardinals’ issues against left handed batters. While he struggled in the starting rotation in Memphis, once he moved to the bullpen, he has been magic. 16.1 innings pitched, 6 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run.

Yeah, I’ll take that.

That means the Cardinals are currently carrying three left handed relievers, which could signal that another move will be forthcoming for the Cards in the bullpen. In the Cards bullpen the left handed pitcher is really what people like to call the LOOGY, which stands for Lefty-One-Out-GuY. You bring him in against a left handed hitter to give you an out before you bring in a right handed reliever to finish the rest of the inning. This is done for matchup reasons.

Trever Miller, 38, is making $2 million this season. He was phenomenal in 2009 as he held left handed hitters to .135 batting average and a .200 on base percentage. A little less so last year as he held them to a .203 batting average and a .294 on base percentage. That isn’t great, but it’s not horrible. Then we get to this year. So far Miller has allowed them to hit .254 with a .378 on base percentage. In 19 of his 32 appearances he has walked a hitter or allowed a hit. For a guy that needs to just get one out, that’s unacceptable.

However, he’s been thrown into a difficult role as he was the only left hander in the bullpen during the injury to our other left handed reliever, Brian Tallet.

Tallet, 33, and making $750,000 this season, Tallet was solid during his early season appearances. Then he hit the disabled list. Since coming off the DL, Tallet has an ERA of 11.05 while hitters are hitting .400 off of him. I guess the bright side is that he’s only allowed one walk?

This has to be the precursor to another deal, I would assume. What’s next? I’ll be the first to admit that I have zero idea.

I presume that they will allow Valdes to get his feet wet to know whether he can handle the role. In the event that he can, I think you might see Tallet given his walking papers too. There is no need for three left handers in the bullpen, especially when they have the lefty split. Tallet is the cheaper pitcher to cut ties with.

That would create an extra spot in the pen again. Who gets that? Maybe a new addition? Maybe Brian Augenstein?

The potential roster scenarios are abundant right now and each seem equally unlikely to me because it’s been so rare to see the Cardinals cut ties in the middle of the season with a player. If anything happens, something surprising will happen because that 40 man roster is full.

While I love the unpredictability of it, as a fan, you grow attached to these players and you hate to see them go, especially when they aren’t right, because you know how good they are when they are right.

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Also check out Wednesday night’s UCB Radio Hour on the podcast. Jerry and I talked about the state of the Cardinals minor league system and how this year’s draft turned out. Chalk full of good stuff from Jerry, he really brought a lot of information to the table.