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Tribe deals DeRosa to Cards for Perez

DeRosa dealt to Cards for Perez

CLEVELAND -- Mark DeRosa was acquired by the Indians on New Year's Eve. And now he's gone before the Fourth of July.

It was a short-lived tenure with the Tribe for DeRosa, who was the subject of trade rumors almost from the time he first slipped on an Indians uniform. On Saturday night, the last-place Indians, all but out of contention and getting an early jump on the summer trading season, shipped him off to the Cardinals for right-handed reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named.

DeRosa was disappointed, but far from shocked, by the news. He had been reading the rampant rumors about his availability -- and the list of suitors that included his former Cubs team and the Mets, among others -- every day.

"You're disappointed, because you want to hit the rewind button and start over here," DeRosa said. "I was just starting to get comfortable and get to know the guys. That's the toughest part. But I have a chance to play for a division title again and put myself in a great situation with a new team. I'll say my goodbyes and move on."

And the Indians will add yet another new piece to their beleaguered bullpen. But unlike other hired hands brought in over the course of this season from outside the organization, Perez is a younger arm with upside, not an experienced guy trying to find his old form.

Perez, who turns 24 on July 1, has spent the majority of 2009 in the Cardinals' bullpen, going 1-1 with a save and a 4.18 ERA in 29 appearances. He began the year at Triple-A Memphis, where he was 1-0 with two saves and a 0.00 ERA in four innings of work.

Major Leaguers have hit just .195 off Perez, and he's allowed just two of 15 inherited runners to score. He's striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings.

"He's a guy that throws the fastball consistently in the mid-90s and has reached back to 98 [mph]," general manager Mark Shapiro said. "He has a hard, late slider that's swing and miss. He's a profile guy that we've been on since college."

The Cardinals selected Perez out of the University of Miami with the 42nd overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. Last year, he was 3-3 with seven saves and a 3.46 ERA in 41 appearances for the Cards, spending time as the club's closer down the stretch. Baseball America named him the organization's third-best prospect after the season.

"Obviously, he transitioned very rapidly to the Major Leagues and has pitched in meaningful, leverage roles for them already," Shapiro said.

Another bonus to acquiring Perez is the contractual control the Indians will have. The earliest he could be eligible for arbitration is after the 2010 season.

The Indians expect Perez to arrive in Cleveland on Sunday and be activated Monday. Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, recovered from a sprained left shoulder joint and fresh off a rehab assignment at Double-A Akron, will be activated Sunday to take DeRosa's spot on the active roster.

Shapiro said the DeRosa deal allows the Indians to continue to get a long look at Luis Valbuena at second base, as Cabrera will return to short with Jhonny Peralta at third. But DeRosa's absence also opens up playing time in the corner outfield, and that's time that could eventually go to top outfield prospects Matt LaPorta or Michael Brantley in the coming weeks.

Neither LaPorta nor Brantley, however, are on their way to Cleveland just yet.

As for the player to be named, Shapiro repeated what he said last summer, when the Indians traded CC Sabathia to the Brewers in a trade that eventually netted Brantley as the player to be named.

"It's an important piece for us," Shapiro said. "That's a structure that we've felt has worked well for us in past trades, in times where we've acquired guys like Coco Crisp and Michael Brantley. It's a piece that adds significant value for us."

Neither Shapiro nor St. Louis GM John Mozeliak would reveal any details about the player to be named and what level he is at. Mozeliak also wouldn't reveal whether he is currently on the Cards' 40-man roster.

Mozeliak sought out DeRosa because the Cardinals have a dicey situation at third base, with Troy Glaus nursing shoulder ligament damage. The Cardinals are tied with the Brewers for first place in the National League Central standings, so the 34-year-old DeRosa will be thrown into the playoff race.

Of course, he had hoped to be in such a race with an Indians team that acquired him for Minor League pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub over the offseason.

DeRosa did his part, hitting .270 with 47 runs scored, 13 doubles, 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 71 games and moving all over the diamond and up and down the batting order for the Tribe. But the Indians fell to 14 games under .500 on Saturday.

"I came here with the opportunity to help a ballclub," DeRosa said, "and we weren't able to get it done up to this point. I stress that, because this team went on a huge run in the second half last year."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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