Perdomo’s moves from StL to SF to SD reinforce mistake

Reliever Luis Perdomo, left unprotected by the St. Louis Cardinals this past winter and subsequently selected by the San Francisco Giants with the sixth pick overall in December’s Rule 5 Draft, has been claimed off waivers by San Diego and will join the Padres’ major league bullpen.

Perdomo, the Cardinals’ entire take from Cleveland in the dump trade of former top prospect Anthony Reyes last summer, then pitched for Double-A Springfield last season. The 24-year-old seemed to have assumed Reyes’ role as a prime organizational enigma, while the original, Reyes, can now be found in the Indians’ starting rotation.

In 2009 major league spring training, Perdomo did a credible job for San Francisco, and seemed to have made the team. Instead, he struggled in his last couple of outings and ended up being a surprise late cut.

When not making the Giants and before being able to return to the Cardinals, the right-hander had to be placed on irrevocable waivers, where he was nabbed by the Padres. The Dominican republic native is still required to remain in the majors for the remainder of the 2009 regular season or the waiver process will be repeated.

San Diego has been a popular recent destination for Cardinals relievers that appeared with Double-A Springfield. In addition to Perdomo, now-injured Mark Worrell and Luke Gregerson headed West in the Khalil Greene trade.

Given the struggling status of the Padres, if Perdomo pitches as well for them as he did with the Giants, he has a very good chance of sticking with the West Division club, winners of just 63 games last season and projected by some to be just as bad or worse in 2009.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak was recently quoted as saying that given the opportunity, his organization would take Perdomo back and assign him to the Triple-A Memphis bullpen. Despite Perdomo not being required to be placed on the 40-man roster if returned, the Cards say they would do it, anyway.

That statement implicitly acknowledges the mistake made by the Cardinals in not protecting Perdomo in the first place. If he is good enough to be placed on the Cardinals’ 40-man roster now, why wasn’t he back in December?

There was room on the roster at that time, just as there is today. The Cardinals protected Matt Scherer, who was one of the first cuts in spring training camp, while Perdomo has proven to be an asset valuable enough to have been wanted by at least two other organizations to compete at the major league level.

If the Cards felt the two relievers were worthy, why weren’t both kept? At a minimum, it is clear that Perdomo had trade value that was wasted by the organization. Instead, all the Cardinals have to show for Perdomo (and therefore, Reyes) is the paltry Rule 5 sum of $50,000.

Other than closer Chris Perez and perhaps recently-converted starter Jess Todd, Memphis seems short of right-handed relievers that could be considered major league ready, a statement that excludes Scherer at this time. Therefore, to suggest Perdomo was redundant or unneeded seems inconsistent with reality.

: For those interested in where former Cardinals major and minor leaguers are landing in 2009, make sure you check out Cardinals Best News Links daily.