St. Louis Cardinals – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-09-19T04:38:57Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Josh Donaldson]]> 2018-09-15T06:46:09Z 2018-09-15T06:46:09Z Josh Donaldson’s difficult season and recent trade have prompted plenty of looks in the rearview mirror to imagine what might have been. Now with the Indians for the tail end of an injury-plagued year, the veteran third bagger could instead have inked a long-term deal to stay in Toronto or been shipped elsewhere.

Multiple organizations reputedly sought to acquire Donaldson from the Blue Jays before the start of the season. Reports at the time pegged the Cardinals as a major pursuer, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today now reports on Twitter that the club was indeed serious about landing Donaldson. While he had only one year of contract control remaining, and a hefty $23MM salary, the St. Louis organization was evidently not shy about giving up significant talent to make a deal.

Indeed, per the report, the Cards offered up a two-player package that included young righty Jack Flaherty — the same hurler who might well be cruising to a National League Rookie-of-the-Year award were it not for the brilliance of two historic young hitters. Flaherty’s ongoing ability to suppress base hits — he’s allowing only a .248 BABIP — may reasonably be questioned. But his 132 1/3-inning showing (to this point) has been amply impressive even if it comes with some batted-ball fortune.

Unquestionably, the Jays would take a do-over on their decision not to accept that offer. But that’s based as much or more on the ensuing injuries to Donaldson as it is Flahrty’s emergence. And if we’re going to consider what-if’s, there’s another entire scenario that also could have occurred. In this case, the outcomes favor the Toronto ballclub.

It has long been known that the Blue Jays explored the possibility of an extension with Donaldson in advance of the 2018 season. Details, though, have not only been slow to emerge, but have come with no small amount of controversy.

Today, Jon Heyman of Fancred fired the latest shot in an ongoing back-and-forth with Donaldson’s agents regarding pre-2018 extension talks with the Blue Jays. Heyman argues that “the Jays and the Donaldson camp knew exactly where they stood” in terms of contract price last spring, citing some of the player’s own comments to support his reporting. And, he insists, the Blue Jays made clear they’d be willing to pay something at or over the three-year, $75MM level to make a deal, if not a bit more.

In Heyman’s telling, the Donaldson camp found that level insufficient — which, as Heyman notes, would certainly have been a fair position to take given Donaldson’s outstanding level of play in the preceding campaigns. The recently stated position of agent Dan Lozano, however, is that “the team never extended an offer” and that “no years or dollars were ever specifically discussed.”

Those interested in the topic will want to read all the materials and reach their own conclusions. Broadly, the post mortem on the end of Donaldson’s tenure in Toronto is interesting for a variety of reasons. But it’s clearly also not a subject that necessarily needs to feature winners and losers. Certainly, there was no known reason to think that Donaldson was headed for such a calamitous season — either for the Blue Jays or the player’s reps. Historians may debate the facts, but they won’t likely dispute that the player was warranted in seeking a massive payday and that the club was justified in demanding a big return via trade.

In any event, for the Indians the focus now is solely on what Donaldson can do on the field. He broke through with a home run today, a promising sign for the club as it seeks to get him up to full speed in advance of the postseason. When the season ends, the veteran will be able to choose his next uniform for himself.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Prospect Notes: Vlad, 2018 Draftees, Twins, Franco, Pitchers]]> 2018-09-13T16:54:45Z 2018-09-13T16:54:22Z With the season effectively over for all but a few teams, many front offices and fanbases alike are turning their sights toward the 2019 season and beyond as they hope for better days. With that in mind, here’s a look at some notes on some of the game’s top prospects from around the league…

  • ESPN’s Keith Law named Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. his prospect of the year for a second consecutive season (subscription required), citing familiar questions about his long-term defensive capabilities but adding that there’s “zero question in my mind” that Guerrero is more than ready to thrive against Major League pitching at the moment. As for 2018 draftees, Cardinals third baseman Nolan Gorman and Royals lefty Daniel Lynch have been the two most impressive in his estimation. Gorman destroyed Appalachian League pitching and was promoted to full-season Class-A ball despite only having turned 18 in May. Lynch, a University of Virginia product, split his pro debut between those same two levels and pitched to a 1.58 ERA with a 61-to-8 K/BB ratio in 51 1/3 innings.
  • Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of took a longer-term look at prospects yesterday, attempting to forecast who will be the top-ranked prospects this time a year from now. With names like Guerrero, Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Kyle Tucker all expected to graduate from prospect lists next year, Callis and Mayo tab Twins shortstop Royce Lewis, the No. 1 overall pick from 2017, as their pick to be the game’s top prospect a year from now. More encouraging for Twins fans is that 2016 first-rounder and outfielder Alex Kirilloff, who missed the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery, lands third on the same list after hitting .348/.392/.578 between Class-A and Class-A Advanced in his return from that surgery.
  • Meanwhile, Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser writes that Rays shortstop Wander Franco has been tabbed as BA’s breakout prospect of 2018. (Franco also appears on the previously mentioned lists from Law and The 17-year-old Franco grew up living next to Indians superstar Jose Ramirez in the Dominican Republic and calls his childhood neighbor and friend his “idol” and greatest influence as a hitter. Glaser speaks to Franco about his relationship with Ramirez and his progress in 2018, and he also chats with Franco’s Appalachian League manager, Danny Sheaffer, about the young phenom’s strengths and upside. Franco was one of just two 17-year-olds playing in the Appy League this year but crushed older pitching to the tune of a .351/.418/.587 slash with 11 homers, 10 doubles and seven triples in 273 plate appearances.
  • Evaluating pitching prospects is among the most challenging endeavors for teams and online analysts alike. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs recently explored the pitfalls of attempting to do so, suggesting that many mainstream publications (his own past work at Fangraphs included) have leaned too heavily in favor of “power-over-feel” prospects and downplayed the potential significance of players cut from the Shane Bieber cloth — those who possess above-average command and stuff but perhaps not an overpowering arsenal of 60- or 70-grade offerings. McDaniel highlights Tigers righty Matt Manning, White Sox righty Dylan Cease and Rays lefty/first baseman Brendan McKay in examining the various elements that have contributed to this line of thinking in an interesting column that those who avidly follow prospects will want to check out in its entirety.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Surgery Not Recommended For Ozuna's Shoulder]]> 2018-09-12T04:24:39Z 2018-09-12T04:20:26Z
  • Mark Saxon of The Athletic takes a look at the shoulder troubles that have plagued Marcell Ozuna all season (subscription required). Saxon notes that Ozuna has had difficulty with day-to-day tasks such as taking off a sweatshirt in recent weeks and has played through discomfort all season. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak again acknowledged that the team was aware of some ongoing shoulder troubles with Ozuna when trading for him but felt, if anything, they’d impact his throwing from the outfield — not his offense. Still, Mozeliak says surgery has not been recommended for Ozuna, so it seems he’ll hope rest, rehab and perhaps physical therapy this offseason can help. To his credit, Ozuna has absolutely raked at a .333/.371/.615 clip in his past 143 PAs even while playing through that pain.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals' Larocque Could Emerge As Mets GM Candidate]]> 2018-09-12T00:11:18Z 2018-09-12T00:11:18Z
  • The Post’s Joel Sherman, meanwhile, wrote recently that the goal for the Mets is to have a list of 10 to 12 candidates by month’s end and to have a new GM in place by the time the annual GM Meetings begin on Nov. 4. Sherman runs through a host of potential names and references the same disconnect as Puma. Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington (a current Jays exec) and Cardinals director of player development Gary Larocque are a few of names prominently connected to the job. Sherman notes that whoever is ultimately named GM will be hired with the understanding that Minaya will maintain a fair bit of power in terms of player personnel decisions. That, along with the general dysfunction that is largely synonymous with the Wilpon name at this point, will complicate the hiring process.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Adam Wainwright, Transfer Michael Wacha To 60-Day DL]]> 2018-09-11T00:32:15Z 2018-09-11T00:28:15Z 7:28pm: St. Louis GM Mike Girsch says that Wacha will not return this season, as’s Jen Langosch tweets. Wacha’s oblique injury was aggravated, removing any chance of his return.

    1:54pm: The Cardinals announced Monday that they’ve activated right-hander Adam Wainwright from the 60-day disabled list and transferred righty Michael Wacha from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL in order to create space on the roster.

    The 37-year-old Wainwright will start tonight’s game against the Pirates, marking his first appearance since May 13. The three-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young runner-up has been bothered by elbow issues for much of the season after initially landing on the DL for inflammation back in May. He’s been limited to four appearances in 2018, totaling just 18 innings of work for the Cards in that time.

    Wainwright told reporters back in Spring Training that he had no plans to talk about his future in the game and has, to this point, held to that stance (link via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Rick Hummel). But given that the 2018 season is the final year on Wainwright’s contract, there’ll be plenty of speculation as to whether the next few weeks with the Cards represent his big league swan song. Any such determination surely won’t come until after the season, though, and it stands to reason that the manner in which he performs and his ability to recover after this month’s starts will prove instructive in making that call. Wainwright is earning $19.5MM this season in the final year of a five-year, $95MM extension he signed prior to the 2014 campaign.

    As for Wacha, he hasn’t taken the mound since mid-June due to what seems to be a severe oblique injury. It should be noted that today’s news doesn’t technically mean his season is over. Wacha had already been on the disabled list for 60 days, so he’d already have filled that minimum requirement should the Cards deem him ready to pitch between now and season’s end. There’s been no indication that’s likely, however; to the contrary, Wacha was actually scratched from a rehab start last week due to renewed discomfort in his ailing oblique muscle. The 27-year-old enjoyed a fair bit of success when healthy this season, pitching to a 3.20 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 84 1/3 innings over the life of 15 starts.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Injury Notes: Wacha, Molina]]> 2018-09-08T14:04:05Z 2018-09-08T14:04:05Z
  • The Cardinals expected to have right-hander Michael Wacha back in their rotation by now, but the left oblique strain that has shelved him since June 20 continues to pose a problem. Ten days after exiting a Double-A start on account of oblique issues, the rehabbing Wacha was unable to make his scheduled start with Triple-A Memphis on Friday because of “discomfort” in that area, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Wacha’s now slated to return “to St. Louis for more evaluation,” according to Cardinals manager Mike Shildt. With so little time remaining in the season, Wacha may be done for the year, Hummel observes. Fortunately for the Cardinals, who are clinging to a one-game lead for the NL’s second wild-card spot, fellow righty Adam Wainwright is on the cusp of returning from his own injury issues. The former ace is set to join Miles Mikolas, Austin Gomber, Jack Flaherty and John Gant in the Cards’ rotation – a group that appears increasingly likely to finish 2018 without Wacha. The 27-year-old had been one of the Redbirds’ most effective starters before his injury, as he logged a 3.20 ERA/4.21 FIP over 84 1/3 innings.
    • The Cardinals expected to have right-hander Michael Wacha back in their rotation by now, but the left oblique strain that has shelved him since June 20 continues to pose a problem. Ten days after exiting a Double-A start on account of oblique issues, the rehabbing Wacha was unable to make his scheduled start with Triple-A Memphis on Friday because of “discomfort” in that area, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Wacha’s now slated to return “to St. Louis for more evaluation,” according to Cardinals manager Mike Shildt. With so little time remaining in the season, Wacha may be done for the year, Hummel observes. Fortunately for the Cardinals, who are clinging to a one-game lead for the NL’s second wild-card spot, fellow righty Adam Wainwright is on the cusp of returning from his own injury issues. The former ace is set to join Miles Mikolas, Austin Gomber, Jack Flaherty and John Gant in the Cards’ rotation – a group that appears increasingly likely to finish 2018 without Wacha. The 27-year-old had been one of the Redbirds’ most effective starters before his injury, as he logged a 3.20 ERA/4.21 FIP over 84 1/3 innings.
    • In further unwelcome news for the Cardinals, catcher Yadier Molina is dealing with a strained left hamstring and will sit out for at least the weekend – if not longer – Shildt revealed (via Hummel). Although Molina’s strain is “mild,” there’s “no timetable” for his return, per Shildt. Molina already missed several weeks earlier in the season with a pelvic injury, but the potential Hall of Famer has otherwise turned in another terrific year, with a .273/.324/.447 line and 17 home runs over 447 plate appearances and quality work behind the dish. For as long as the 36-year-old Molina’s out, St. Louis will rely on Francisco Pena and Carson Kelly to handle the position.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Wainwright Could Return To Cards This Week]]> 2018-09-03T02:11:57Z 2018-09-03T02:11:57Z After pitching in his sixth minor league rehab outing on Saturday, Adam Wainwright could be back in the Cardinals rotation sometime this week, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.  The former ace has been limited to just four starts and 18 innings in 2018 due to three separate DL stints, the latter two for right elbow inflammation.  During this rehab stint, however, Wainwright has seemingly gotten on track, tossing 17 shutout innings over his six appearances.  While the longtime Cardinal can add some experience to a young St. Louis rotation, it has been some time since Wainwright has exhibited his old front-of-the-rotation form, as injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued the veteran over the last four seasons.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[September Call-Ups: 9/1/18]]> 2018-09-01T22:38:55Z 2018-09-01T21:24:34Z A few call-ups were announced yesterday, but we’re likely to see far more prospect promotions and even contract selections take place today as rosters expand. We’ll use this post to keep track of those moves…

    • The Marlins selected the contract of righty starter Jeff Brigham today; he’ll be among those playing in the majors for the first time ever. Brigham’s solid 3.44 ERA in Triple-A this season is muddied a bit by his 4.45 FIP, but he’s maintained solid ratios. Brigham’s 8.25 K/9 and brilliant 2.24 BB/9 give him a solid 3.69 K/BB ratio that probably looks quite nice to a Marlins club that’s hurting for serviceable major league starters. Miami has also recalled right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren along with catcher Chad Wallach.
    • The Athletics selected several contracts today, including that of catching prospect Beau Taylor. The lefty-hitting backstop has never played in the majors, but he’s done well for himself at the Triple-A level this season by drawing walks in 14% of his plate appearances while hitting .248. He’s even chipped in a pair of stolen bases. The biggest knock on Taylor is his lack of power; the 28-year-old owns a sub-.100 ISO and has never hit more than eight homers in a given season. Other contracts selected by the Astros today include those of lefty Dean Kiekhefer and righties Chris Hatcher and Liam Hendriks. The A’s recalled lefty Daniel Coulombe and shortstop Franklin Barreto as well.  
    • The Indians selected the contract of right-hander Jon Edwards today, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old Edwards has done well for himself in the Tribe’s minor league system in 2018, though, racking up 56 strikeouts in just 39 1/3 innings while pitching to a 3.64 ERA. Though he’s exhibited extreme control issues in the past, his 2.70 BB/9 in 30 innings with Triple-A Columbus suggests there’s a possibility he’s put those problems behind him. The Tribe promoted catcher Eric Haase to the majors alongside him.


    • The Mariners have selected the contract of Justin Grimm among their September moves, whom they signed to a minor league contract on July 25th. Grimm’s been plagued by shoulder and back issues all season and struggled to a cataclysmic 13.50 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Royals earlier this season, which led to his release early on in the summer. With the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, though, he’s put up a pristine 1.64 ERA and an even more impressive 13.91 K/9 mark. In addition to Grimm, Seattle also selected the contract of Kristopher Negron, and recalled right-handers Chasen Bradford and Ryan Cook, lefty James Pazos, catcher David Freitas.
    • The Nationals have selected the contract of right-hander Austen Williams, who’ll be getting his first MLB cup of coffee this September. He’s been quite impressive in the upper minors this season, including a 0.55 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. That’s backed up by excellent peripherals, including 20 strikeouts against just four walks. Williams had pitched exclusively as a starter until this season, and it appears a transition to a relief role has catapulted him to a status as an incredibly intriguing talent. The Nats also recalled catcher Pedro Severino to fill in while Wieters is dealing with a hip/groin injury (per Jamal Collier of
    • The White Sox promoted Caleb Frare to get his first taste of the bigs; as James Fegan of The Athletic points out, he needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the coming winter’s Rule 5 Draft. They’ve good reason to do so, as the lefty reliever has thrived with the organization ever since being acquired from the Yankees a month ago in exchange for $1.5MM in international bonus pool funds. He’s put up fantastic numbers in 12 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte, including a 0.71 ERA and 13.50 K/9. Aaron Bummer will join him as the other White Sox player to receive a September promotion so far.
    • The Royals have selected the contract of catcher Meibrys Viloria to account for the hole left by Drew Butera, who was traded to the Rockies yesterday. Fascinatingly, Kansas City decided to promote the 21-year-old Columbia native even though he’s never played above the High-A level. He’s done just fine there, though, batting .260/.342/.360 in 407 plate appearances over the course of 2018. Viriola is expected to maje his MLB debut as early as this week while mainstay catcher Salvador Perez deals with a sprained thumb.
    • After a short stay in the minors, righty reliever Ray Black is back up with the Giants. He’s had a poor showing in the majors so far, allowing ten earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. He did manage to strike out 22 batters in that span, though, and owns a 2.11 FIP in 25 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season. His blistering 16.13 K/9 at that level perhaps speaks to his potential even more.
    • The Cardinals recalled catcher Carson Kelly today, who’s widely considered to be the club’s catcher of the future once Yadier Molina’s contract is complete. However, he’s yet to prove his worth at the major-league level, as evidenced by his .150/.216/.187 batting line across 118 MLB plate appearances. The Redbirds have also called up lefty Tyler Webb and righty Daniel Poncedeleon.
    • The Phillies have opted to recall outfielder Aaron Altherr, who’d largely been a fixture in the club’s major-league outfield for the past two seasons prior to a late-July demotion. While his 13.3% walk rate so far this season was downright fantastic, that was about the only aspect of Altherr’s performance to be happy about; he was striking out at a 32.7% clip while hitting just .171 and slugging just .305. Philadelphia also added outfielder Dylan Cozens and righty reliever Yacksel Rios to their active roster.
    • The Yankees are set to give right-hander Stephen Tarpley his first taste of major-league action after selecting his contract earlier today. Tarpley is quite an interesting arm-he’s been utilized as a multi-inning reliever at two levels of the minors this year, and to great effect. Most recently, he’s pitched to a 2.65 ERA and 10.06 K/9 across 17 appearances spanning 34 innings at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Infielder Tyler Wade and right-hander Luis Cessa will also join the MLB club as rosters expand.
    • The Mets will give righty Eric Hanhold his first taste of major-league action, MLBTR has learned. Acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Neil Walker to the Brewers, Hanhold has apparently been quite unlucky to own his 7.11 ERA at Triple-A this season. Rather, his 3.43 FIP in 19 innings at that level produces some level of optimism that he can serve as a quality reliever in the majors. A .429 BABIP and 2.86 K/BB ratio further strengthen that case.
    • The Reds are set to give shortstop prospect Blake Trahan a September call-up, as C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic was among those to tweet. Trahan came to the Reds by way of the club’s third-round draft pick back in 2015. He did not rank amongst MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Reds prospects in the publication’s most recent rankings, though Fangraphs ranks him 24th in that regard thanks to a 55 speed tool and a 60-grade arm. He’s also likely to be a league-average shortstop. That’s about all there is to like about Trahan at present, as he’s only hit .245/.327/.302 at the minors’ highest level.
    • The Reds have also recalled Lucas Sims, who arrived in Cincinnati just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package in exchange for sending Adam Duvall to Atlanta. Sims owns a 5.96 ERA and 7.15 K/9 in a Braves uniform, but his minors track record indicates he might have better days yet to come; the righty has managed to strike out at least ten batters per nine innings at every level of the minors post-Rookie ball, and has a sub-4.00 MiLB ERA in each of the past two seasons.
    • The Twins will promote right-hander Zach Littell, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Littell has but 3 1/3 innings of MLB experience, during which time he allowed seven earned runs with one strikeout en route to a demotion. His 3.57 ERA at Triple-A this season is far more palatable, albeit unspectacular.
    • The Twins also announced that they’ve selected the contract of left-hander Andrew Vasquez, who’ll be receiving his first cup of coffee after pitching to a sub-1.50 ERA out of minor-league bullpens across the past three seasons combined. They’ve also selected catcher Chris Gimenez in addition to recalling outfielder Johnny Field and right-hander Tyler Duffey.
    • The Red Sox have officially recalled five players, including first base/outfield type Sam Travis. After serving as a somewhat serviceable piece in 2017 (.263/.325/.342 batting line), Travis has struggled in limited major-league action this year to the tune of a 45 wRC+ and -0.1 fWAR. Boston has also promoted left-handers Bobby Poyner and Robby Scott, as well as right-hander William Cuevas and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.
    • The Tigers have recalled right-hander Sandy Baez from Double-A Erie, per a club announcement. Baez made his major-league debut back on June 4th, entering the game in relief during a double-header. He didn’t allow any runs in 4 1/3 innings, though he did walk three batters in that appearance. Aside from that, Baez has never pitched above Double-A, and owns a troublesome 5.64 ERA there on the 2018 season, in part due to command issues.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Reds Release Zack Weiss]]> 2018-09-01T17:37:18Z 2018-09-01T17:37:18Z The Reds have released right-hander Zack Weiss in order to clear room on the 40-man roster for shortstop Blake Trahan, whose September call-up was reported earlier today.

    Weiss, 26, has never known any organization other than the Reds. The organization drafted him in the sixth round all the way back in 2013, and he’s come up through their system as a reliever. His only major-league appearance, however, was an unmitigated disaster. On April 12th, Weiss faced the Cardinals and allowed four earned runs on a pair of walks and a pair of homers without recording a single out.

    Even in the minors, Weiss has exhibited extreme control issues. At Triple-A this season, he walked 15 batters in just 11 1/3 innings pitched en route to a 12.27 BB/9, while also allowing 11 earned runs in that span. There’s at least some cause for intrigue surrounding the righty, though, as he managed 11.89 K/9 across 28 Double-A innings last year. His ERA in that span came out to a respectable 2.89, and if Weiss can harness some of that ability at the major-league level, he’d certainly be a useful arm to a major-league club.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Josh Donaldson Out Of Lineup After Clearing Waivers]]> 2018-08-31T23:50:56Z 2018-08-31T23:23:46Z 6:23pm: Toronto is advising other organizations that it expects to trade Donaldson this evening, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links), who adds the Indians and Astros as clubs that have recently “shown interest.”

    The Braves, meanwhile, seem “unlikely” to land Donaldson, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter).

    6:07pm: The Yankees are in on Donaldson but could only take on around half his remaining salary, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets. MLB Network Radio’s Steve Phillips had connected the New York organization to Donaldson, via Twitter, while also listing the Cards, Phillies, and Braves as teams still engaged in discussions with Toronto.

    4:58pm: Though he had been scheduled to play another rehab game tonight, Donaldson was pulled for reasons unrelated to his physical condition, Shi Davidi of tweets. That seems to hint, at least, that the Jays are taking precautions in the event that an agreement is struck involving the veteran third baseman.

    Meanwhile, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said this afternoon that he “would not anticipate” any deals coming together by tonight’s deadline. Of course, that doesn’t rule the team out on Donaldson or other possible targets.

    12:17pm: Donaldson has indeed cleared waivers and is eligible to be traded to any team, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets the same, adding that Donaldson is likely to be traded before midnight tonight.

    10:33am: The Cardinals have interest in acquiring Josh Donaldson in advance of tonight’s postseason-eligibility deadline, reports Jon Morosi of Morosi adds that the chances of Donaldson being dealt to the Indians are believed to be “slim.”

    It’s logical to see St. Louis emerge as a viable suitor for Donaldson, with both Jedd Gyorko and Kolten Wong currently on the disabled list. Neither injury has been characterized as a season-ender, to this point, but with the Cards holding a two-game lead on an NL Wild Card spot and trailing the division-leading Cubs by a matter of 4.5 games, every win is critical. Donaldson is far from a surefire upgrade given that he’s spent three months on the shelf due to a calf injury, though, and Morosi notes that the Cards would need to deem the Blue Jays’ asking price “sufficiently low” in order to move forward on a trade.

    Donaldson has played a pair of games on a minor league rehab assignment, homering for Toronto’s Class-A Advanced affiliate yesterday, and he spoke to the Toronto Sun’s Rob Longley about his frustration with his 2018 health issues while also alluding to some frustration with the organization.

    “I can’t control what the team wants to do with me,” Donaldson said, though he declined to further delve into his current relationship with the club. “…There’s a lot I can say about that, but I choose not to say anything about it right now. I don’t feel now is the time or the place. It’s one of those things that, as an athlete, I can only control what I can control.”

    Donaldson was reportedly placed on revocable trade waivers Tuesday, when he was first eligible for waiver placement. (Major League rules stipulate that injured players must be healthy enough to take the field when run through revocable waivers.) It’s not known yet whether he cleared, though it seems unlikely that a team would place a claim on him when he hasn’t played in a big league game since late May and still has nearly $4MM remaining to be paid out on this season’s $23MM salary.

    Donaldson’s very placement on waivers, though, is at least somewhat shrouded in mystery. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets that there is “some grey” regarding whether he was actually eligible to go through waivers. Donaldson’s would-be rehab game was rained out Wednesday, but he wasn’t slated to be in the lineup that night due to reported soreness in his calf following Tuesday’s rehab appearance. Certainly, some soreness following a player’s first game action in three months could be expected, but it’s presently unclear whether that would prevent him from meeting the league’s standards as pertains to the health of player being put through the August waiver process.

    If the Blue Jays aren’t able to work out a trade of Donaldson (for whatever reason), he’ll return to the club to finish out what has generally been a successful four-year tenure. Donaldson took home American League MVP honors in his first season with the Jays back in 2015 and has batted .281/.383/.548 in 2066 plate appearances since being traded to Toronto in a lopsided deal back in the 2014-15 offseason.

    Should Donaldson remain on the roster into September, the Jays will have to weigh whether to issue him a qualifying offer following the year. Doing so would entitle them to draft pick compensation in the event that Donaldson rejects and sign elsewhere. But the organization also runs the risk of the third baseman accepting that one-year offer, which should be for around $18MM, which would create some roster issues for the 2019 season. Toronto is set to turn third base over to uber-prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. next season, and a return from Donaldson would complicate matters. Players who accept the qualifying offer can’t be traded before June 15 the following season without their consent, so it’s not as simple as just trading him this winter in the event that accepts a QO. The Jays could try to make things work by having Donaldson and Guerrero play multiple positions — Donaldson has had cameos at shortstop and first base for the Jays in the past, and either could serve as a DH — but there’s certainly some degree of incentive for the team to work out a trade before tonight’s midnight deadline.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Jedd Gyorko On Disabled List]]> 2018-08-29T20:46:29Z 2018-08-29T20:46:29Z The Cardinals have placed infielder Jedd Gyorko on the 10-day disabled list, per a club announcement. Fellow infielder Adolis Garcia has come up from Triple-A in his place. Gyorko has been dealing with a left groin strain. While there had been some hope he’d avoid a 10-day minimum stint on the shelf, he’ll instead join fellow infielder Kolten Wong.

    On the positive side, the St. Louis organization has several fill-in options with at least some prior MLB experience. Greg Garcia, Yairo Munoz, Patrick Wisdom, and Garcia will all presumably see time as the Cards patch things together.

    That being said, the Cardinals are at a point in the season where every win is precious. The club has sprinted into Wild Card position, but is still trying to fend off a number of challengers while also hoping to track down the NL Central-leading Cubs.

    The expectation seems to be that both Gyorko and Wong will return in relatively short order. Still, there’s always the potential for aggravation of a muscle injury, and there’s an argument to be made that the club ought to look into opportunities to improve regardless.

    A move to add an infielder is far from a sure thing, but there are some options that could be worth considering. Several quality veterans have already reportedly cleared trade waivers. Others could also be considered potential trade candidates, potentially including Josh Donaldson, a player the Cards have targeted previously and who is going through the waiver process as we speak.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Extend Mike Schildt]]> 2018-08-28T21:09:03Z 2018-08-28T21:08:15Z 4:08pm: The three-year term on Shildt’s contract includes the current season, as Shildt’s new contract runs through the 2020 campaign, per Jen Langosch of (on Twitter). The Cardinals have formally announced that Shildt has shed the “interim” label on his title and is now the full-time manager.

    2:35pm: The Cardinals will make official today what had increasingly become obvious: interim manager Mike Shildt is going to stay in the job beyond the present season. He’s slated to receive a three-year contract in addition to having the interim label removed. Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter) and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link) had the news.

    Since taking the helm of a club that was sitting just one game over .500 just past the season’s halfway point, Shildt has guided the Cards to a 26-12 record. The club is now firmly back in contention. Of course, numerous roster moves came along with the firing of Mike Matheny, and it’s always hard to allocate praise and blame for managerial performance, but the organization obviously had cause to be pleased with the early returns on the new skipper.

    Shildt opened the year as the Cards’ bench coach, which in and of itself represented a remarkable rise in the game. He never played professionally and was first came to the St. Louis organization as a scout. Shildt rose steadily from there, ultimately becoming a manager in the lower minors and climbing the ranks to run the team’s top affiliate. He came to the MLB staff in 2017 as a quality control and then third base coach.

    The Cardinals know Shildt well and are clearly impressed with his work to this point, though it’s nonetheless a bit surprising to see them remove the “interim” label from Shildt after just 38 games. Typically, even when organization have hired an interim manager on a full-time basis, he’s but one of many candidates amid a larger search at season’s end. That won’t be the case with Shildt, who has already overwhelmingly captured the hearts of many Cardinals fans and drawn praise from both his players and fellow coaches.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Dominic Leone, Release Ryan Sherriff]]> 2018-08-26T18:26:36Z 2018-08-26T16:28:55Z The Cardinals have activated reliever Dominic Leone from the 60-day disabled list and placed fellow reliever Mike Mayers on the 10-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, Joe Trezza of reports. Additionally, the Cardinals have released reliever Ryan Sherriff, according to Jenifer Langosch of

    Leone is finally set to return after missing nearly four months with a nerve issue in his right biceps. Before Leone went on the DL on May 5, the 26-year-old opened the season with 13 innings of 4.15 ERA ball, adding 15 strikeouts against three walks. The Cardinals were counting on Leone to serve as a key member of their bullpen this year after a terrific 2017 with the Blue Jays, who traded him to St. Louis for outfielder Randal Grichuk in January.

    Leone hasn’t been available for most of 2018, but Mayers, on the other hand, has seen plenty of action. The hard-throwing 26-year-old ranks third among Cardinals relievers in both innings (45 2/3) and appearances (42). Mayers has been respectable along the way, having logged a 4.14 ERA with 8.28 K/9 and 2.56 BB/9, but a couple of recent blowups have hurt his numbers. In a loss to Colorado on Saturday, he yielded two earned runs on three hits and failed to record an out – perhaps thanks to his shoulder troubles.

    The left-handed Sherriff, 28, had been with the Cardinals since they used a 28th-round pick on him in 2011. He worked his way to the majors last year, impressing over 14 1/3 innings with a 3.14 ERA, 9.42 K/9 against 2.51 BB/9, and a 65 percent groundball rate. Sherriff totaled another 5 2/3 big league frames earlier this season, but he struggled before undergoing Tommy John surgery in June. Not only did that procedure end his season, but it’s also likely to keep Sherriff out for a large portion of the 2019 campaign.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Michael Wacha, Dominic Leone Close To Returning]]> 2018-08-26T00:22:12Z 2018-08-26T00:22:12Z
  • Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to rejoin the team’s rotation during the first week of September, manager Mike Shildt told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other reporters Saturday. Wacha will first need to get through a Double-A rehab outing on Tuesday, when he could throw 75 to 80 pitches, per Goold. A left oblique strain has kept Wacha out since June 21, before which he made 15 starts and tossed 84 1/3 innings of 3.20 ERA/4.21 FIP ball. Meanwhile, reliever Dominic Leone is also on track to return to the Cardinals early next month, Joe Trezza of tweets. The offseason trade acquisition from Toronto landed on the DL on May 5 with a nerve issue in his right biceps – an injury which has prevented Leone from properly following up the excellent 2017 he had with the Blue Jays.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Marcell Ozuna On DL]]> 2018-08-23T04:12:34Z 2018-08-23T04:12:34Z
  • The Cardinals announced today that left fielder Marcell Ozuna has been placed on the disabled list due to inflammation in his right shoulder. It’s a tough loss for the Cards, even if it’s only an abbreviated stint, as Ozuna had hit safely in 22 of his past 27 games, batting a combined .315/.356/.532 with six homers, four doubles and a triple in that span of 118 plate appearances. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Ozuna’s shoulder has been problematic dating all the way back to last season. The Cardinals were aware of the issue when trading for him, Goold writes, and the team has tried to limit Ozuna’s throwing outside of a game setting throughout the season in order to lessen the stress on said shoulder.
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