claimed reliever Jess Todd
off waivers yesterday, snatching him up after the New York Yankees
designated him for assignment. The move was accompanied by the transfer of Bryan Augenstein
to the 60-day disabled list to make room.
Coming to the Cardinals completes a circuit of sorts for Todd, as it represents a return to the team that originally drafted him in the second round back in 2007, and the organization whose Minor League Pitcher of the Year award he won in 2008. He's likely headed to Memphis as a reliever right now, where he'll try to regain the form that made him a highly regarded relief prospect.
Todd was part of the Mark DeRosa deal, along with Chris Perez, who has since taken over the closer role for the Indians.
Personally, I'm actually pretty excited to see Todd returning to the Cardinals. As the originator of an obscure internet meme related to him over at Future Redbirds
, I'm proud to say he was one of my favorite prospects coming up through the system. What he may still have to offer is another question, but a quick glance at his numbers suggests to me that there may be something there after all.
Todd's peripherals have stayed relatively steady throughout his career, with the exception of the small handful of innings he's accumulated at the major league level. (Todd has 28.1 total innings at the big league level, mostly for the Indians in 2009.) He's suffered some bad batted ball luck, but mostly has just seemed to be one of those guys who gets lost in the shuffle somewhere along the line. He started for the Cards during his brilliant '08 campaign, but has always been seen more as a reliever due to a smallish frame and funky mechanics.
At the very least, Todd should present some immediate depth for a bullpen which has already cannibalized just about all there is to stew up in the high minors. I do have some hope coming back to the organisation he was so successful with earlier in his career could help Todd regain his previous form. You know how we always talk about players who could possibly benefit from a change of scenery, from a fresh coaching staff they might mesh better with? Well, it works the other way occasionally too. Sometimes players go to new teams and struggle with the adjustment to a new staff and a different philosophy.
Is Jess Todd really going to come in, demand we choose the form of our destructor, and then seize the closer's role in a storm of fire and brimstone and marshmallow cream? Probably not. But as free pickups go, bringing back a guy who was so good for you as high as Triple A in the very near past can't possibly be all that bad a move.
Plus, he's not Ryan Franklin or Miguel Batista. So he's got that going for him. And that's plenty good for me.