Cubs Select Parisi in Rule 5 Draft, Lose Sierra
The Cubs selected RHP Mike Parisi from the St Loiuis Cardinals AAA Memphis club in the Major League Phase of today's Rule 5 Draft.
The Cubs lost no players in the Major League Phase, but RHP Miguel Sierra was selected off the AA Tennessee Smokies Reserve List by the Tampa Bay Rays in the AAA Phase.
The 26-year old 6'3 215 Parisi was selected by the Cardinals in the 7th round of the 2004 Rule 4 Draft out of Manhattan College, and received a $60,000 bonus. The native New Yorker moved steadily up through the Cards system, and was added to the Redbirds 40-man roster post-2007.
He was a rotation starter at AAA Mamphis in both 2007 and 2008, and went 8-2 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.35 WHIP (82 hits allowed and 33/58 BB/K in 84 IP) for Memphis in '08.
He had three ineffective stints (two starts) in the big leagues with the Cardinals in 2008 (8.22 ERA and 2.28 WHIP in 12 games, 37 hits allowed and 15/13 BB/K in 23 IP) before getting optioned back to AAA and eventually undergoing season-ending Tommy John Surgery.
Parisi missed most of the 2009 season rehabbing from the TJS at the Cardinals minor league complex in Jupiter, FL, before getting a bit of game at Palm Beach (FSL) late in the season.
The Cardinals assigned Parisi to the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League post-2009, and he pitched very well in the AFL. (He and RHP Ian Kennedy were the Rafters top two starters). Parisi made seven appearances (six starts) for Surprise, going 3-2 with a 4.44 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 26.1 IP (6/15 BB/K, only one HR). He made all of his assigned starts, and threw five innings (maximum allowed in the AFL) twice.
When healthy, Parisi is a rotation starter with a full-array of pitches, including a 91-93 MPH four-seam fastball. a high-80's sinker, a mid-80's cutter, a straight-change, and a slow curve. Coming off a solid performance in the AFL, Parisi will likely be given an opportunity to compete for the Cubs 5th starter gig in Spring Training.
Because he has been outrighted previously in his career (post-2008), he can refuse a return to the Cardinals (Memphis) and become a free-agent should he not make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster (and presuming he is not claimed off Outright Waivers).
21-year oid 6'5 RHP Miguel Sierra was signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic during the International Signing Period in July 2005. He spent two seasons pitching in the Dominican Summer League (DSL Cubs) in 2006-07, before being invited to Fitch Park for Minor League Camp in March 2008.
Sierra was one of the top pitching prospects at Extended Spring Training in '08, but he had a disappointing debut season in the AZL, going 2-4 with a 5.28 (57 hits allowed and 13/25 BB/K in 44.1 IP) for the AZL Cubs.
He was back at Extended Spring Training again in 2009 and was not as effective as he had been the previous year. He did get assigned to Boise in June, however, but he struggled there and was sent back to the AZL Cubs (Mesa) in July. He threw better once he was back in Arizona, but the fact that he failed at Boise probably caused the Cubs to sour on him a bit.
Being selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft means Sierra will not be offered back to the Cubs. The Rays have to assign him to their AAA Durham club in Minor League Camp (Spring Training), but he can be sent to any Rays minor league affiliate once the 2010 regular season starts. Given his limited experience and lack of success above Rookie ball, Sierra will likely begin the 2010 season at Bowling Green in the South Atlantic League (SAL).