The Royals announced mid-game yesterday that they had claimed pitcher Maikel Cleto off waivers from St. Louis and had designated outfielder Quintin Berry (acquired two weeks ago) for assignment. Cleto, a right-hander, is just twenty-four, but will be joining his fourth organization. Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mets, he was dealt to the Mariners in 2008 in a three-team, eleven-player trade that included Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Vargas, and Aaron Heilman. Two years later, still as a minor leaguer, he was traded to the Cardinals for shortstop Brendan Ryan.
Cleto has gotten cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons with the Cardinals, but has a total of 15 2/3 innings pitched in the show. He has converted primarily to a relief pitcher in the Cardinals organization. He showcases a fastball in the upper-nineties, but has command issues. In 53 1/3 innings for the Cardinals AAA affiliate this year, he had walked 53 hitters and sported a 6.92 ERA. He also throws a changeup, slider, and curveball. In seven minor league seasons, his career ERA is 5.02, although he has struck out nearly eight hitters per nine innings. Cleto was optioned to AAA Omaha.
Berry is a speedster who can draw some walks and started a World Series game last year for the Tigers. He has struggled mightily in the minor leagues this year and fared no better in nine games at Omaha, hitting .194/.265/.290.