LAKE BUENA VISTA FL: Jairo Asencio #64 of the Atlanta Braves during Photo Day at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Thursday, the Cleveland Indians bought a baseball player.
It's believed the Indians sent the Braves between $25,000 and $30,000 for Asencio, 27, who is out of options.
"Our scouts have liked him for quite a while," said Antonetti. "He's got a good fastball, a good slider. He has a track record of pitching late in the game in the minor leagues and some good strikeout rates as well.
Asencio did not play in 2010 with the Braves because he was on the restricted list for playing under a false name. The Dominican native signed with the Pirates in 2004 as Luis Valdez. His true identity was discovered in 2010.
Roberto Hernandez, the Indians pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, is currently on the restricted list. He cannot enter the United States until he receive a voucher/waiver from the U.S. government.
As you might guess, Asencio doesn't have wildly impressive stuff. Two years ago, John Sickels wrote, "Valdez has never been a huge favorite of scouts, but the results are hard to pan at this point. His fastball varies between 88 and 92 MPH, occasionally pushing 95, and he mixes it with an effective changeup. As long as his command holds up, I don't see any reason why he can't be a useful middle reliever."
Asencio led the International League in saves in both 2009 and '11. Granted, minor-league closers don't typically do much in the majors -- Colter Bean, anyone -- but Asencio's got a 3.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 126 Triple-A innings, so he seems to have decent stuff and the requisite statistical track record.
According to Hoynes, Asencio's in the running for one of two open spots in Cleveland's bullpen.