St. Louis Cardinals – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-06-23T06:09:15Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Michael Wacha On 10-Day DL]]> 2018-06-22T03:53:07Z 2018-06-22T03:50:42Z 10:50pm: The Cardinals have termed the oblique strain to be “moderate,” per’s Joe Trezza (Twitter link). While it’s obviously good news for the team that Wacha isn’t looking at a severe strain that’ll keep him out for months, Trezza notes that the team still expects to be without Wacha for “at least” a couple of weeks.

2:26pm: The Cardinals announced that they have placed righty Michael Wacha on the 10-day DL, as had been expected. He’s dealing with a left oblique strain.

Fellow righty John Gant will come up to take his place on the active roster. For the time being, Gant may move into the pen, though the Cards will ultimately have to fill in a rotation opening. At present, the team will rely on Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty in the starting five. Gant could step into that role, though the team also has rotation options in the form of Austin Gomber and Daniel Poncedeleon.

The open question is just how long the St. Louis organization will go without Wacha. He has had a strong campaign to date, working to a 3.20 earned run average with 7.6 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 through 84 1/3 innings. The Cardinals didn’t provide an immediate timeline, though even Grade 1 oblique strains have been known to keep players on the disabled list for upwards of a month. With Alex Reyes already out for the season and Adam Wainwright’s status still uncertain, the pressures on the rotation are mounting.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Greg Holland, Place Matt Bowman On DL]]> 2018-06-19T19:58:30Z 2018-06-19T19:58:30Z The Cardinals announced today that they’ve activated veteran reliever Greg Holland from the disabled list. To open a roster spot, the club moved righty Matt Bowman to the 10-day DL with blisters on his middle finger.

Now that he’s back from an extended stretch on the shelf due to a hip impingement, Holland will look to reestablish himself after a brutal start to the season. He’s playing on a hefty $14MM contract before returning to the open market at the end of the year, so both player and team have ample incentive to get him back on track.

Unfortunately, Holland’s rehab results largely mirror those from his time in the majors earlier this year. Most worryingly, he’s continuing to dole out far too many free passes. In 20 1/3 total innings this year at all levels, Holland has walked twenty batters. The rest of the numbers are similarly iffy, as the former closer has been tagged for 19 earned runs on 27 hits while recording only 16 strikeouts.

Given his long history of success, perhaps there’s still reason to hope Holland can find something upon his return. While his days as one of the best relief arms in baseball are long since past, he was able to lead the National League with 41 saves last year while carrying a 72 ERA- and recording 11.0 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9.

At this point, the Cards are likely hoping that Holland can throw well enough to justify an ongoing roster spot. Surely the club would be overjoyed if he can show himself worthy of some late-inning work. Holland’s form over the next five weeks will have a significant impact on the team’s deadline plans, as the bullpen looks like a potential area for mid-season upgrades.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Plan To Activate Greg Holland During Upcoming Week]]> 2018-06-18T02:11:31Z 2018-06-18T02:11:13Z
  • The Cardinals plan to activate reliever Greg Holland from the disabled list during the upcoming week, Jenifer Langosch of reports. Holland has been out since May 26 with a right hip impingement, and the results during his rehab assignment haven’t been “ideal,” manager Mike Matheny admitted. The $14MM free-agent signing has allowed four earned runs on five hits (two home runs) and posted more walks than strikeouts (five to four) in five minor league games. He has also logged horrid numbers in the majors this year, having recorded a 9.45 ERA with 10 strikeouts and 15 walks in 13 1/3 innings.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 6/17/18]]> 2018-06-17T15:08:44Z 2018-06-17T15:08:44Z The latest minor league moves from around baseball…

    • The Cardinals signed left-hander Tommy Layne to a minor league deal, and Layne made his organizational debut last night with an inning of work for Double-A Springfield.  Layne posted a 7.62 ERA and 1.13 K/BB rate over 13 relief innings for the Yankees last season before being released, and he has since bounced around in the Dodgers and Red Sox farm systems on minors contracts.  Prior to his rough 2017 campaign, Layne had a solid 3.23 ERA and 8.4 K/9 (albeit against a 4.2 BB/9) over 136 2/3 career innings with the Padres, Red Sox, and Yankees, displaying some LOOGY tendencies thanks to some wide career splits.  Left-handed batters have managed just a .516 OPS against Layne in his big league career, while right-handed batters have a strong .840 OPS.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: DeJong, Leone]]> 2018-06-17T02:31:14Z 2018-06-17T02:29:58Z
  • Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong is on track to come off the disabled list in early July, Jenifer Langosch of reports. DeJong, out since suffering a fractured left hand May 17, has been cleared to resume hitting and is aiming to take batting practice during the upcoming week. Meanwhile, injured reliever Dominic Leone has “turned the corner from uncertainty to progressing in the right direction,” according to general manager Michael Girsch (via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Leone now looks likely to return this year, which wasn’t the case before, Goold notes. A nerve issue in Leone’s right biceps has kept him on the shelf since May 5.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Luke Gregerson Undergoes Arthroscopic Knee Surgery]]> 2018-06-12T21:43:55Z 2018-06-12T21:43:55Z Cardinals reliever Luke Gregerson is already on the disabled list due to an impingement in his right shoulder, but’s Joe Trezza tweets that Gregerson also had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn right meniscus yesterday. He’ll be out for at least an additional four to six weeks following that procedure.

    Signed to a two-year, $11MM contract this offseason, Gregerson has been limited to just 8 1/3 innings so far in 2018. He’s been hit hard in that time, yielding eight runs on eight hits (two homers) and three walks with eight strikeouts.

    While he’s never been a flamethrower, Gregerson’s average fastball was sitting at just 87.8 mph in his limited 2018 sample — a decrease of nearly two miles per hour from last season’s average of 89.5 mph. To his credit, Gregerson’s 16.7 percent swinging-strike rate was actually the second-best mark of his career, and his 60.9 percent ground-ball rate remained considerably ahead of the league average for relievers (43.3 percent).

    [Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]

    Gregerson is one of several Cards relievers on the shelf, joining Matt Bowman, Greg Holland, Dominic Leone and Tyler Lyons. In his absence, the Cards have leaned heavily on surprise closer Bud Norris. Young flamethrower Jordan Hicks has been the most highly used piece of a largely unproven collection of arms that have been utilized in high-leverage spots, with John Brebbia, Mike Mayers and Sam Tuivailala all being asked to pick up meaningful innings (and performing quite well in the process).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Agree To Terms With No. 43 Pick Griffin Roberts]]> 2018-06-12T03:44:05Z 2018-06-12T03:42:59Z
  • The Cardinals agreed to terms with Wake Forest right-hander Griffin Roberts on a $1,664,200 bonus — the full slot value of his No. 43 selection — per’s Jim Callis (on Twitter). Opinions on Roberts were somewhat split, with Baseball America most favorably ranking him 47th in the class, while Fangraphs pegged him 84th overall. Reports on him praise Roberts for possessing one of the best sliders of any amateur in the country, but there’s also quite a bit of uncertainty as to whether he can be a starter at the professional level or if he’ll be a bullpen piece. He also had control issues prior to the 2018 season.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Agree To Terms With First-Rounder Nolan Gorman]]> 2018-06-12T13:48:43Z 2018-06-11T23:47:15Z The Cardinals have reached agreement on a bonus with first-round draft pick Nolan Gorman, per’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). If and when the pact is finalized, the nineteenth overall draft pick will receive a full-slot bonus of $3,231,700.

    Gorman, a high-school third baseman from Arizona, was widely ranked as one of the fifteen-best prospects entering the draft. His loudest tool is his power at the plate. And it’s not just projection; in Baseball America’s words, Gorman hits the ball “harder than almost anyone in the [draft] class.”

    The draw of that pop led prospect hounds — as well as the Cards — to put a lofty draft grade on the left-handed-hitting slugger despite some questions. His pure hitting ability isn’t considered as advanced, though he has excelled against significant velocity. And though he’s said to carry a quality arm, there are plenty of questions as to whether he’ll stay at the hot corner in the long run.

    Notably, multiple outlets — including BA and Fangraphs — observed that Gorman has become stiffer at the plate and in the field of late, adding to the worries. These concerns obviously weren’t that pressing, though, as the 18-year-old still landed in the middle of the first round. As’s Keith Law explained it, “if he hits enough just to get to the power, it won’t really matter where he plays” in the field.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Select Daniel Poncedeleon]]> 2018-06-11T20:18:00Z 2018-06-11T20:18:00Z The Cardinals announced that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Daniel Poncedeleon from Triple-A Memphis. First baseman Luke Voit has been optioned back to Memphis in a corresponding move.

    It’ll be the first call to the Majors for Poncedeleon, who persevered through a frightening head injury that necessitated brain surgery after he was struck in the head by a comeback line drive last May (link via’s Jen Langosch). The 26-year-old was a ninth-round pick of the Cards back in 2014.

    Poncedeleon made just six starts for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate last season due to that scare, but he’s appeared in a dozen games (11 of them starts) in Memphis this season, pitching to a 2.41 ERA with 10.7 K/9, 5.3 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9 and a 32.4 percent ground-ball rate in 59 2/3 innings. While he’s not considered among the Cardinals’ top couple of tiers of prospects, Poncedeleon received an honorable mention in last year’s rankings from Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, drawing praise for an “above-average downhill fastball, deep-breaking curveball and fading changeup.” Longenhagen’s report notes that there’s a chance Poncedeleon ultimately settles into the bullpen.

    [Related: Updated St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]

    For the Cardinals, Poncedeleon will give them another option both in the rotation and in the bullpen following some injury woes in both regards. St. Louis recently lost Alex Reyes for the season and is uncertain as to when Adam Wainwright will be healthy enough to return, though the team still has a strong rotation mix of Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver, Michael Wacha and Jack Flaherty. But relievers Matt Bowman, Greg Holland, Tyler Lyons, Luke Gregerson and Dominic Leone are all also on the disabled list, so Poncedeleon replenishes some needed depth for their staff.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Claim Preston Guilmet, Designate Deck McGuire]]> 2018-06-09T19:48:00Z 2018-06-09T19:36:35Z The Blue Jays have claimed right-hander Preston Guilmet off waivers from the Cardinals, per an announcement from Toronto. To make room for Guilmet, the Jays designated righty Deck McGuire for assignment.

    This will be Guilmet’s second stint with the Toronto organization, as he previously tossed 14 1/3 innings with its Triple-A affiliate in 2015. The 30-year-old has combined for 260 1/3 innings at Triple-A with multiple franchises and logged a 2.39 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9. However, Guilmet hasn’t been anywhere near that successful across 25 major league frames (9.36 ERA, 7.92 K/9, 3.24 BB/9) with the Indians, Orioles, Brewers, Rays and Cardinals. He made a pair of appearances with St. Louis this week and yielded five earned runs in two innings, leading the Redbirds to designate him on Thursday.

    The Jays selected McGuire 10th overall in the 2010 draft, and he has finally seen his first action with the club this season, allowing six earned runs in 8 1/3 innings. The 28-year-old – who, like Guilmet, is in his second stint with the Jays – also garnered a bit of experience in the majors with the Reds last season. Most of his work has come in the upper levels of the minors, including 334 frames at Triple-A, where he has registered a 4.99 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 6/7/18]]> 2018-06-07T18:52:52Z 2018-06-07T18:52:52Z We’ll track the day’s minor moves here:

    • Mets lefty Aaron Laffey has decided to retire, according to Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Review Journal (via Twitter). The 33-year-old, an eight-year MLB veteran, had been pitching for the organization’s top affiliate. Laffey was struggling quite a bit, though, carrying an unsightly 11.77 ERA through 26 innings in six starts. He recorded only 11 strikeouts against six walks while surrendering a whopping 45 base hits and ten long balls. Over his 494 1/3 career innings in the majors, the last of which came in 2015, Laffey worked to a 4.44 ERA. He spent the bulk of his time with the Indians and also saw substantial action with the Blue Jays, along with shorter stints with the Mets, Mariners, Yankees, and Rockies.
    • Backstop Steven Baron has cleared waivers after being outrighted by the Cardinals, according to a club announcement and as tweeted by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It seems Baron will accept an assignment to Triple-A. He was designated for assignment recently after a brief MLB stint, during which he recorded his first hit in the majors. The 27-year-old is a .248/.307/.333 hitter in 455 career plate appearances at Triple-A.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Designate Preston Guilmet]]> 2018-06-07T15:25:43Z 2018-06-07T15:25:43Z The Cardinals announced today that they have designated righty Preston Guilmet for assignment. His roster spot will go to infielder Greg Garcia, who was activated from the paternity list.

    Guilmet was only just added to the roster, making his first big-league appearance since 2015. But he was shelled in two outings against the Marlins, coughing up five earned runs on seven hits (including two home runs). Guilmet had shown quite well at Triple-A before that, though, racking up a 35:5 K/BB ratio and allowing just three earned runs on nine hits in 29 innings of action.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Schoendienst Passes Away]]> 2018-06-07T02:32:07Z 2018-06-07T02:32:07Z Baseball lost a legend on Wednesday evening, as the Cardinals announced that Red Schoendienst has passed away at the age of 95. The Hall of Famer was a 10-time All-Star who won a pair of World Series rings as a player and another during a managerial career that spanned parts of 14 seasons at the helm of the Cardinals.

    A native of Germantown, Ill., Schoendienst made his big league debut as a 22-year-old with the 1945 Cardinals, leading the NL with 26 steals and hitting .278/.305/.343. He made the first of his 10 All-Star teams in his sophomore year with the Cards, a team for whom he enjoyed 15 seasons as a player in addition to his 14-year run as manager. Schoendienst also spent parts of four seasons with the Milwaukee Braves and two seasons with the New York Giants.

    Schoendienst, who had been the oldest living member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, finished his career with 2449 hits, 1223 runs scored, 84 homers, 427 doubles, 78 triples, 89 steals and a .289/.337/.387 batting line in 2216 games and 9224 plate appearances. He finished in the Top 4 of the National League MVP voting on two occasions and garnered votes in four other seasons, and he posted a career 1041-955 record as a manager — twice managing the All-Star team on the heels of a World Series appearance (1968-69). Enos Slaughter, Bob Gibson, Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn and the great Stan Musial were among the all-time greats that Schoendienst called teammates over the course of a 19-year playing career. Since his playing and managerial days, Schoendienst had served as a Senior Special Assistant to the Cardinals organization.

    The Cardinals issued a video tribute to their beloved franchise icon (on Twitter), paying homage to his legend against the audio backdrop of an excerpt from his Hall of Fame induction speech. Commissioner Rob Manfred also offered a statement:

    “Red Schoendienst was one of the most beloved figures in the rich history of the St. Louis Cardinals, the franchise he served for 67 years. He was a 10-time All-Star second baseman, a World Series Champion as a player with the 1946 Cardinals and the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, and a championship-winning manager with the 1967 Cardinals. Red was a teammate, manager, and friend of some of the greatest players in the history of Baseball. The connection between Red and the fans of St. Louis spanned multiple generations and he was a wonderful ambassador for our game. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Red’s family, his many friends and admirers throughout our game, and Cardinals fans everywhere.”

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Alex Reyes Undergoes Surgery On Torn Tendon, Likely Out For Season]]> 2018-06-06T21:45:14Z 2018-06-06T21:31:08Z The Cardinals received brutal news on touted right-hander Alex Reyes, as the 23-year-old was ultimately diagnosed with a torn tendon in his right lat that necessitated surgical repair (Twitter links via Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Reyes, who pitched four innings in his first start back from Tommy John surgery, is expected to need six months to recover, which would effectively end his 2018 season. The doctors did tell the team that they expect a full recovery, Timmermann adds.

    The abrupt end to Reyes’ season is a transformative injury for a Cardinals rotation that was dreaming of six quality options: Reyes, Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver, Michael Wacha and Jack Flaherty (to say nothing of the rehabbing Adam Wainwright and depth arms like Austin Gomber and John Gant). While the very presence of Flaherty, Gomber and Gant should allow the Cards to field a competitive rotation even without Reyes and Wainwright, the group now looks thinner than the organization would’ve hoped. Martinez himself is only just back from a less-severe lat injury of his own, and he looked decidedly rusty in his first start since being activated off the DL yesterday.

    Of greater concern, of course, is the long-term ability of Reyes to contribute in the rotation. While there’s no doubting the talent he possesses in his right arm, his four-inning appearance this season was his first action since the 2016 campaign. As Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch rightly points out (via Twitter), by the time the 2019 season kicks off, Reyes will have pitched just four MLB innings in a span of 31 months. That doesn’t even factor in a shoulder injury he had in the minors back in 2015. In all, the highest total of innings Reyes has ever thrown in a full season is 116 1/3 in 2015 (101 1/3 regular-season frames and 15 innings in the Arizona Fall League).

    Reyes will continue to accrue MLB service time while he misses a second straight season rehabbing from a major surgery, meaning that by Opening Day 2019, he’ll have racked up two years, 55 days of service despite throwing only 46 innings at the Major League level. He’s on track to be eligible for arbitration following the 2019 season and can be controlled through the 2022 season as things currently stand.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals’ Ryan Sherriff Undergoes Tommy John Surgery]]> 2018-06-06T03:23:33Z 2018-06-06T03:23:33Z The Cardinals will be without left-handed reliever Ryan Sherriff for the remainder of the 2018 season and for much of the 2019 season after the southpaw underwent Tommy John surgery today. Sherriff himself broke the news in a since-deleted Instagram post, though Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that the team has confirmed the operation took place.

    Sherriff, 28, made his big league debut with the Cards last season, tossing 14 1/3 innings with a 3.14 ERA, a 15-to-4 K/BB ratio and a whopping 65 percent ground-ball rate. That impressive showing came on the heels of similar numbers in Triple-A, where he posted a 3.19 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 56.2 percent grounder rate in 53 2/3 innings.

    [Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]

    He’s only been healthy enough to toss a combined 9 2/3 innings between Triple-A and the Majors this season, however, during which time he’s allowed seven runs on the strength of 14 hits (including a pair of homers). In a best-case scenario, he’d be available as a bullpen option late in the 2019 season.

    Tyler Lyons, Brett Cecil and Austin Gomber give the Cardinals a trio of left-handed options for their big league bullpen, though Lyons and Cecil have struggled, while Gomber has just two MLB appearances (including a rough outing tonight). With Sherriff now out of the equation for the duration of the season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cardinals explore some depth additions in the short term, although left-handed bullpen help seemed like a possible deadline target for the St. Louis front office even before today’s news.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Carlos Martinez, Yadier Molina]]> 2018-06-05T20:22:49Z 2018-06-05T19:51:34Z The Cardinals announced a series of roster moves today. In particular, the team has activated both ace Carlos Martinez and veteran backstop Yadier Molina from the disabled list.

    Additionally, the Cards have selected the contract of righty Preston Guilmet, who had been pitching at Triple-A on a minor-league deal. To clear roster space the club designated catcher Steven Baron. Opening up active roster space meant optioning catcher Carson Kelly and righty Mike Mayers while shifting infielder Greg Garcia to the paternity list.

    Though they have played well, the Cards sit in third place in a highly competitive NL Central division. They’ll gladly welcome two of their best players back into the fold.

    Of added interest here is Guilmet, who had an opt-out chance on June 1st. Perhaps he and the team worked out a delay to allow these other roster situations to ripen. In any event, the 30-year-old is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2015.

    Guilmet, who pitched last year, has been an absolute force thus far in 2018 at Triple-A. He has permitted just three earned runs on a paltry nine hits over 29 innings through 21 appearances. Along the way, he has issued only five walks while ringing up 35 opposing hitters on strikes.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Likely To Activate Carlos Martinez, Yadier Molina On Tuesday]]> 2018-06-03T19:04:15Z 2018-06-03T17:36:22Z The Cardinals, 31-25 and firmly in the National League playoff hunt, are set to get back a couple of key reinforcements. Top starter Carlos Martinez and catcher Yadier Molina are on track to come off the disabled list Tuesday, per Joe Trezza of

    Martinez went on the DL on May 10 with a strained right lat, before which the 26-year-old opened the season with 50 innings of 1.62 ERA/3.36 FIP pitching. Thanks in part to the flamethrowing Martinez’s efforts, the Cardinals’ rotation owns the majors’ third-best ERA (3.01) and seventh-highest fWAR (5.7).

    Martinez will rejoin an impressive group that has also received notable contributions from Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty, though it did lose high-ceiling 23-year-old Alex Reyes again earlier this week. Reyes returned from February 2017 Tommy John surgery this past Wednesday for a start against the NL Central rival Brewers, who lead the Cards by 4.5 games, but he lasted just four innings and subsequently went back on the DL with a “significant” lat strain.

    Molina, meantime, has been out since May 6 – shortly after he underwent surgery for what St. Louis called a “pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma.” He suffered the injury behind the plate after taking a 100 mph-plus foul tip off the bat of the Cubs’ Kris Bryant. Molina, 35, had gotten off to a fine start to the season, slashing .272/.292/.456 with six home runs in 120 plate appearances and grading as one of the majors’ best pitch framers, per Baseball Prospectus.

    Fill-in catchers Francisco Pena, Carson Kelly and Steven Baron haven’t been nearly as effective as Molina offensively, and all four Cardinals backstops have failed to throw out a single base stealer this season. Runners have gone a combined 20 for 20 against the Redbirds, though Molina figures to change that in the near future. Although the potential Hall of Famer yielded seven steals on as many attempts before his injury, he has thrown out a tremendous 41 percent of would-be base thieves during his career.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[No Timetable For Dominic Leone's Return]]> 2018-06-03T02:35:27Z 2018-06-03T02:35:03Z
  • Cardinals reliever Dominic Leone went on the DL on May 5 with a nerve issue in his right biceps. Nearly a month later, Leone has shown some improvement, but there’s still no timetable for his return, Joe Trezza of writes. Leone’s injury is an unusual one, as Trezza details, and the righty noted that “I still have yet to receive a true diagnosis as to why it happened, and it might never come. Any other injury, you have a timetable.” That’s certainly a letdown for both Leone and St. Louis, which acquired him from Toronto as part of a trade for outfielder Randal Grichuk in the offseason. Leone was coming off an outstanding 2017 at the time, though he has only been able to chip in 13 innings of 4.15 ERA ball this year.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Alex Reyes On DL With “Significant” Lat Strain]]> 2018-05-31T20:33:53Z 2018-05-31T20:07:05Z 3:07pm: It’s a “significant” lat strain for Reyes, GM Mike Girsch tells reporters (Twitter link via Mark Saxon of The Athletic). There won’t be an exact timetable on his recovery until he receives a second opinion, per Saxon, though certainly that update from Girsch is far from promising. An MRI taken this morning revealed the injury, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    2:09pm: The Cardinals announced today that they’ve placed top prospect Alex Reyes back on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle. St. Louis also optioned struggling outfielder Tyler O’Neill and right-hander John Gant to Triple-A Memphis. Filling those spots on the roster will be lefty Austin Gomber, righty Mike Mayers and first baseman Luke Voit, each of whom has been recalled from Memphis.

    Reyes had Cardinals fans salivating as he tore through minor league batters in a rehab assignment, and he looked dominant in the first inning of yesterday’s return affair before slowly experiencing a dip in his velocity over the subsequent three innings. President of baseball ops John Mozeliak told The Athletic’s Jim Bowden last night that Reyes’ elbow was “fine,” and that appears to be the case, though the lat muscle presents a new issue for the vaunted young right-hander to overcome. While any injury to Reyes’ throwing arm is of course a cause for concern for the organization, it’s likely a silver lining that the issue is not specific to his surgically repaired right elbow.

    With Reyes back on the shelf, the Cards will once again deploy a rotation consisting of Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver, Michael Wacha and Jack Flaherty as they await the return of ace Carlos Martinez from a lat strain of his own. Martinez did go out on a minor league rehab assignment today, per the team’s transactions page, but while he’s nearing a return, it seems that fans will have to wait for the a highly anticipated 1-2 punch of Martinez and Reyes atop the staff.

    [Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]

    As for O’Neill, he’ll head back to Triple-A and look to make continued strides on his approach at the plate and his bat-to-ball skills. While the 22-year-old flashed the power that has made him such an intriguing prospect, early proclamations of a new star’s arrival were proven premature. O’Neill struggled enormously to make consistent contact, whiffing in 43.9 percent of his trips to the plate and in 13 of his final 19 plate appearances before being optioned out.

    None of that is to suggest that O’Neill doesn’t have the potential to develop into a regular middle-of-the-order threat for the Cards, of course. While contact issues had plagued him earlier in his minor league tenure, he whittled his strikeout rate down to a more respectable 23.3 percent in Memphis this season before being called to the Majors. His approach still needs some refinement, though, as was evidenced by a 2.5 percent walk rate in Triple-A and a near-identical mark in his brief MLB tenure this season. O’Neill has mashed 13 homers in 120 PAs with Memphis and three in the bigs, though, so there’s little doubting the legitimacy of his power.

    With O’Neill in the minors, it’ll be Marcell Ozuna, Tommy Pham, Dexter Fowler and Harrison Bader splitting up the bulk of the outfield duties. Meanwhile, in the rotation, it’s possible that Gomber could step up and make a spot start as the team awaits the return of Martinez. If not, he’ll give the ’pen a fresh lefty at a time when both Brett Cecil and Tyler Lyons have endured some considerable struggles. Gomber has made nine start in Memphis and logged a solid 3.60 ERA with a 63-to-17 K/BB ratio in 55 innings of work.

    Mayers, meanwhile, will return for another stint to give the bullpen some depth. The 26-year-old has already been optioned to Memphis and incredible five times in the season’s first two months, and that seems likely to be the role he fills in St. Louis this season unless further injuries in the Majors carve out a more permanent spot for him.

    The 27-year-old Voit is hitting just .243/.351/.348 in Triple-A so far in 2018, but he had a monster season there in 2017 and also hit .246/.306/.430 with four homers in 128 plate appearances at the Major League level. This’ll be his first appearance on the 2018 roster for the Cards.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Reyes, Stolen Bases, Molina, Guilmet]]> 2018-05-31T13:45:11Z 2018-05-31T13:45:11Z Alex Reyes made his much anticipated return to the Cardinals’ rotation yesterday and looked dominant in the first inning, whiffing two hitters with a fastball that reached 97 mph. However, a shaky second inning saw him issue a pair of walks and hit a batter, and his fastball at one point dipped to 92 mph. Reyes’ start was finished after just four scoreless innings and 73 pitches. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at whether there’s any cause for concern, quoting Reyes as the young righty acknowledged some fatigue. As Goold notes, Reyes didn’t go through an inning nearly as challenging as Wednesday’s second frame at any point during his rehab assignment. Manager Mike Matheny characterized the early hook as a precautionary move, acknowledging that the drop in velocity was a significant factor in the decision. Goold notes that Reyes at one point also winced and flexed his shoulder during the fourth inning, prompting a visit from the Cardinals’ staff, though certainly that could simply be related to the aforementioned fatigue, and it’s worth noting that Reyes did hit 97 mph again in the fourth immediately after that mound meeting.

    President of baseball ops John Mozeliak spoke to Jim Bowden of The Athletic and CBS Sports last night and stated that Reyes’ elbow is “fine” in the aftermath of the potential scare (Twitter link), though it stands to reason that the Cards figure to proceed with caution early in the 23-year-old’s return to the big league rotation.

    Here’s more out of St. Louis…

    • Goold also examines an oddity in St. Louis, examining the surprising fact that the Cardinals have yet to prevent an opposing stolen base attempt in 2018. Other teams aren’t running on the Cards very often — they’re 20-for-20 through 53 games — which serves as a testament to the pitching staff’s ability to hold runners. But Goold still notes that no team has gone this far into the season without a single caught-stealing by its catching staff since 1951. St. Louis coaches are encouraging the staff to vary their delivery times and utilize slide steps when necessary as well. The trend is bizarre, to be sure, though it’s also almost certainly a short-term anomaly. Yadier Molina is on the mend and had the game’s second-best pop time prior to hitting the disabled list, Goold notes. And interim starter Francisco Pena comes with a 32 percent caught-stealing rate in his minor league career.
    • Speaking of Molina, he took a significant step toward his return to the roster Wednesday, writes’s Joe Trezza. Doctors cleared Molina to resume baseball activities, and he caught pitches in full gear yesterday in a batting cage in addition to taking some swings. He’ll head out on a rehab assignment in the near future if all continues to go well. Molina took a foul ball to the groin earlier this month and underwent emergency surgery to repair what the team called a “traumatic hematoma” later that evening.
    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that Triple-A reliever Preston Guilmet, who has seen MLB time in the past with the Orioles, Rays, Indians and Brewers, has a June 1 opt-out provision in his minor league deal with the Cards. Guilmet’s opt-out is of particular note, given that the 30-year-old has torn through Triple-A batters with 26 innings of 1.04 ERA ball and a 32-to-4 K/BB ratio. He’s had some remarkable fortune on balls in play (.102 BABIP), but that doesn’t mean that Guilmet’s brilliant K/BB numbers should be wholly dismissed, either. Guilmet has allowed 21 runs in 23 MLB innings, but he’s been dominant in his past two Triple-A seasons now and had a solid run with the Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball in 2017 (3.79 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 in 54 2/3 innings of relief).
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Alex Reyes]]> 2018-05-30T16:13:22Z 2018-05-30T15:29:01Z As expected, the Cardinals have announced the activation today of young righty Alex Reyes from the 60-day DL. To create roster space,the team optioned reliever Mike Mayers and moved bullpen mate Dominic Leone from the 10-day to the 60-day DL.

    It has been known for some time, of course, that Reyes would likely be available around this point in the season. But he first had to advance through the final stages of his rehab from Tommy John surgery and build back up in the minors. And the club then had to decide how it would use him.

    It was determined recently that Reyes would be deployed in the rotation. And we heard also that he would likely not face a strict innings limit. With all signs pointing to the talented 23-year-old slotting fully and permanently into the rotation, and Carlos Martinez also working his way back, the Cards decided not to option out righty John Gant. Rather than keeping Gant stretched out at Triple-A, he’ll take up residence in the MLB pen over Mayers.

    Fair to say, Reyes forced the present decisions with his performance on his rehab assignment. Whispers of the return of his high-powered arsenal were confirmed as he took the hill for four dominating outings at four different levels of the minors. In the aggregate, Reyes has allowed just seven hits and seven walks over 23 scoreless innings, with a whopping compilation of 44 strikeouts.

    That recent performance alone may not portend MLB stardom, but it’s good evidence that Reyes is at least back to the already-impressive form he showed before the TJ procedure. (It also seems particularly promising that he is not exhibiting walk issues, as that has been one area of concern for him as a prospect.) Already seen as one of the best young pitching talents in the game heading into the 2016 season, Reyes increased expectations with a strong, 46-inning debut effort. In his five starts and seven relief appearances, he worked to a 1.57 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cards Continue To Benefit From Pitching Development]]> 2018-05-28T05:03:39Z 2018-05-28T05:03:39Z
  • The Cardinals’ ability to develop from quality pitching from within has long been a strength, The Athletic’s Bernie Miklasz writes (subscription required), as St. Louis has struck gold time and time again with homegrown starters and relievers, some of whom were longshot draft picks.  This ability to identify unconventional pitching talent has also extended to signings like Miles Mikolas, who is posting superb numbers after spending the last three seasons in Japan.  “For years now, everyone in baseball has looked at the St. Louis organization and asked, ’How do they keep doing this?’ Their people see attributes that others don’t,” one rival executive told Miklasz.  “They’re really good about projecting what a pitcher can become….They turn out better than many in our business envisioned. The Cardinals do a fantastic job. Better than anyone, really. It’s not like the Cardinals are sitting there every year, drafting in the top 10.”
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals, Orioles Nearly Had Manny Machado Deal In Offseason]]> 2018-05-27T14:15:30Z 2018-05-27T14:15:33Z Although the Orioles didn’t find a Manny Machado trade to their liking over the winter, the club did believe it was progressing toward a deal with the Cardinals in December, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. St. Louis backed out of negotiations on a swap that would have sent pitching prospects and third baseman Jedd Gyorko to Baltimore, per Olney. The identities of the prospects aren’t known, though Roch Kubatko of reported in mid-December that the Orioles had interest in young Cardinals hurlers Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks. It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals parting with any of those three now, but Olney notes it’s possible they’ll circle back on Machado as the season progresses. Regardless, the Machado trade sweepstakes is likely to kick off in earnest after the June 4-6 draft, according to Olney.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Alex Reyes To Make 2018 Debut On May 30]]> 2018-05-27T01:01:47Z 2018-05-27T01:01:04Z
  • Cardinals righty Alex Reyes will make his much-anticipated 2018 debut on May 30 in a start against the Brewers, Joe Trezza of tweets. It’ll be the prized 23-year-old’s first MLB outing since he underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2017 season. Reyes tore through multiple minor league levels during his rehab stint this year, racking up 44 strikeouts against seven walks in 23 scoreless frames, and looks unlikely to work under an innings limit upon his return to the majors.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Tyler Lyons, Carson Kelly; Place Greg Holland On DL]]> 2018-05-26T17:34:07Z 2018-05-26T17:09:47Z The Cardinals have made several injury-related moves, activating lefty reliever Tyler Lyons and catcher Carson Kelly while simultaneously moving righty reliever Greg Holland to the 10-day DL. The club also optioned catcher Steven Baron to Triple-A Memphis in a related move.

    There’s no word yet as to the nature of Holland’s injury, though he’s certainly dealing with some swelling in his ERA and walk rate. On the season, those figures stand at 9.45 and 10.15, respectively. While he’s been unfortunate in the BABIP department (.388), there’s no arguing that Holland’s pitching has been astonishingly poor; the Cardinals are surely disappointed in the early returns on his one-year, $14MM contract. On the bright side, perhaps an extended rehab stint in the minors will allow Holland to get back on track.

    The swap of Holland for Lyons, then, can probably be considered somewhat of a boost to the Cards’ bullpen. Though Lyons’ surface results don’t look much better (6.17 ERA), his strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.40) looks much less disastrous than that of his right-handed counterpart. Lyons emerged as a dominant left-hander for St. Louis last season, striking out 11.33 batters per nine innings en route to a 2.83 ERA.

    Kelly’s return is welcome news for a Cardinals ballclub that’s been missing both he and feature backstop Yadier Molina all week. Formerly a highly-regarded catching prospect, Kelly hasn’t yet lived up to his billing. He’s hit just .160/.222/.200 across 108 plate appearances in the major leagues. He’ll likely see plenty of playing time as long as Molina remains out, though, so perhaps this is his chance to turn his offensive reputation around.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Prado, Murphy/Goodwin, DeJong, Casilla, Trumbo, More]]> 2018-05-26T05:15:52Z 2018-05-26T05:08:48Z It seems that Marlins infielder Martin Prado has suffered a rather significant left hamstring injury, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The 34-year-old has endured a run of significant problems with his hamstring muscles in the past year or so. Details aren’t yet known, but it certainly sounds as if Prado will be sidelined for a lengthy stretch. He’s owed $13.5MM this year and $15MM for the 2019 campaign. The long-productive infielder has struggled to a .169/.221/.180 batting line in 95 plate appearances on the season.

    Here’s more on the injury front:

    • The Nationals finally got some promising injury news, as they’ll send both Daniel Murphy and Brian Goodwin on rehab assignments beginning tomorrow. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted the news with regard to the former; Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post tweeted manager Davey Martinez’s announcement on both players. Murphy has yet to appear in the 2018 campaign after offseason microfracture surgery, while Goodwin has been slow to return from a wrist injury.
    • It’s still unclear just how long the Cardinals will go without shortstop Paul DeJong, but he says he has been given a four-to-eight week estimate by the medical professionals, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. More than anything, it seems that broad range indicates that there’s not a lot of clarity at this point as to how long it’ll take to heal. All involved will obviously hope that it hues toward the earlier estimate, as the replacement options all have their warts as semi-regular shortstops.
    • It seems the Athletics will go without reliever Santiago Casilla for a stretch. He has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain, as’s Jane Lee reports (Twitter links). Details of his anticipated absence are not yet available, but it’s said to be likely that Casilla will end up on the DL. At the same time, he says he does not believe it’s a serious malady. The veteran entered play today with an ugly 14:13 K/BB ratio, but had allowed eight runs on only 11 hits in his 21 innings of action.
    • Though he seemingly avoided a more concerning fate, Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo will likely head to the DL to rest his ailing right knee, as Roch Kubatko of was among those to report (Twitter links). Trumbo was diagnosed with a fairly significant case of arthritis, which won’t necessarily put him on the shelf for long but also probably isn’t the best news for a defensively limited player who’s owed $12.5MM this year and $13.5MM next. He has been productive thus far in 2018, though, with a .309/.317/.469 slash through 82 plate appearances. On the other hand, it’s somewhat worrisome that he has managed only a pair of home runs and a single walk in that span.
    • In other AL East news … so long as there are no surprises in the interim, Nate Eovaldi will finally start for the Rays on Tuesday, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Yankees announced that reliever Tommy Kahnle is back from the DL, which represents a promising development given the uncertainty that surrounded him when he went on the shelf. And while the Blue Jays still aren’t planning on a near-term return from Troy Tulowitzki, skipper John Gibbons says the veteran shortstop is at least ready to begin running, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of tweets.
    • While the Padres had hoped to welcome back catcher Austin Hedges in relatively short order, he’s now halting his rehab after his problematic right elbow flared up, as’s AJ Cassavell writes. It still seems there’s little reason to fear that Hedges is dealing with a real structural problem, though surely it’s frustrating for the organization that he hasn’t yet fully turned the corner.
    • Meanwhile, the Angels provided an update on hurler Matt Shoemaker, though it mostly suggests ongoing uncertainty with regard to the root of his arm issues. As the club announced, and’s Maria Guardado tweets, the latest examination “ruled out peripheral nerve involvement” but “showed mild edema in the forearm.” Shoemaker is also said to have undergone a bone scan. The results of that weren’t specifically cited, but it seems to suggest that the organization is looking at quite a lot of possibilities to figure out what’s really causing problems for the starter.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Unlikely To Put Innings Limit On Alex Reyes]]> 2018-05-25T16:30:45Z 2018-05-25T16:30:45Z Alex Reyes’ rehab stint as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery has been the stuff of legend. The vaunted prospect has fired 23 scoreless innings with a ridiculous 44-to-7 K/BB ratio in that time and, in what is almost certain to be his final rehab appearance, punched out nine consecutive hitters last night.

    It’s already known that the Cardinals, who initially were mulling a bullpen role for Reyes upon his return, plan to use him in the rotation. President of baseball ops John Mozeliak reinforced that idea following last night’s start, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, saying Reyes is “likely” to be in the rotation and, more interestingly, indicating that he won’t be restricted in terms of innings. With a late-May start to Reyes’ workload, Mozeliak tells Hummel, “I don’t think he will have a cap.”

    That’s not to say, of course, that the Cardinals won’t exercise caution with regard to Reyes’ workload. Logic would dictate that he could be eased back into the rotation in terms of pitch count early on, and with as many as six other rotation options at their disposal, the Cardinals can afford to get Reyes an extra day of rest here or there depending on how his body responds after not throwing a single regular-season pitch last year due to Tommy John surgery.

    [Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]

    Reyes will step back into a rotation mix also featuring Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver, Michael Wacha, fellow prospect Jack Flaherty and swingman John Gant, with ace Carlos Martinez also on the mend from a strained lat muscle. (Hummel notes that Martinez’s return from the DL could follow Reyes’ own activation in relatively short order). It’s not entirely clear how the Cards plan to divide up the workload, though pitching coach Mike Maddux rightly noted that any club would welcome the opportunity to have to gameplan for that sort of “problem.” Maddux also points out that the depth will be of particular use following the All-Star break, as the Cards open the second half with six games in a span of five days.

    The exact date of Reyes’ highly anticipated return hasn’t been set, though it seems likely to come at some point early next week in a key series against the division-leading Brewers. While that return won’t mark the MLB debut for Reyes, who pitched 46 innings for the Cardinals in 2016, it’ll mark the latest in a recent series of promotions for the game’s next young wave of stars. Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuna, Gleyber Torres and Juan Soto (among others) have all debuted to considerable fanfare this season and provided several memorable moments. Reyes looks likely to be the next to step into that spotlight as yet another impressive young talent who’ll be expected to play a key role on a contending club.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jordan Hicks Hires Ballengee Group]]> 2018-05-24T16:10:13Z 2018-05-24T16:10:13Z Cardinals righty Jordan Hicks has hired the Ballengee Group as his representatives, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). MLBTR’s Agency Database now reflects that and other recent agency moves.

    Hicks is just 21 years of age and had never pitched above the High-A level entering the season. But he’s now the owner of a 1.96 ERA through 23 MLB frames. With the game’s biggest fastball at his disposal, Hicks has captured quite a lot of attention in recent weeks.

    Of course, there’s also some cause for skepticism. Hicks has generated a pedestrian 7.2% swinging-strike rate and dished out 16 walks against just 11 strikeouts. And Hicks may not be able to sustain a .191 BABIP-against, as Statcast numbers suggest the quality of contact produced by opposing hitters supports a .346 xwOBA that substantially lags the .254 wOBA that has resulted.

    The statistical questions only increase the intrigue surrounding Hicks. Ultimately, we’ll have to wait to see whether he can sustain the excellent bottom-line results. If he’s able to do so, there could be a near future where Hicks racks up saves, arbitration earnings, and endorsement deals. No matter what, he’ll be a fascinating player to watch.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Jordan Hicks, Fast As It Gets?]]> 2018-05-23T04:27:31Z 2018-05-23T04:27:31Z Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks became the second pitcher ever (after Aroldis Chapman) to hit the 105mph mark, tossing two fastballs at that epic speed during an appearance against the Phillies on Sunday.  As The Athletic’s Mark Saxon writes in a subscription-only piece, Hicks’ feat may represent the virtual limit of how fast a human arm can throw a baseball.  “The maximum can’t go up, because the ligaments can’t take it,”  said Dr. Glenn Fleisig, research director of the American Sports Medicine Institute.  “We’re at the limit, based upon what ligaments and tendons can take….What’s happening is more teams have more guys near the top of the limit, but the limit is just going up nominally.  It really can’t go up.  Maybe at the top it will go up one mph or so, but never will it be 10 mph faster.  It’s just more crowded near the top now.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Evaluating Jordan Hicks]]> 2018-05-22T20:14:02Z 2018-05-22T13:41:41Z
  • Over at Fangraphs, there are a couple pieces well worth a read for fans of the division. Jeff Sullivan examines the curious case of Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks, the flamethrowing reliever who has thus far registered very few strikeouts. It’s a well-balanced take on the youngster, who certainly has exhibited a fascinating skill but still will need to make improvements to become a dominant MLB reliever. Speaking of fastballs, Jay Jaffe looks at the arsenal of Cubs starter Yu Darvish and his reasonably promising return from the DL. It’s a complicated picture, but well worth a look for anyone looking to gauge where things are headed for the high-priced hurler.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals To Utilize Alex Reyes In Rotation]]> 2018-05-21T23:46:17Z 2018-05-21T23:46:17Z The Cardinals had been waiting to decide — or, at least, to announce — how they’d use rehabbing righty Alex Reyes upon his return. But GM Mike Girsch said today that Reyes will join the team’s rotation when he’s ready, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter.

    That decision, while hardly surprising, does set the stage for some further decisions. “We expect him to be in the rotation,” Girsch said of Reyes (as Mark Saxon of The Athletic tweets), “which leads to a whole bunch of other questions, which we have to answer in the next week to two.”

    The current rotation mix features Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, and John Gant. It certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see Gant bumped to the bullpen or back to Triple-A. Beyond that, there are some tough decisions to be made. Weaver carries only a 4.37 ERA, but that’s still a solid output and he has arguably been a bit better than the results. Flaherty is the more recent addition to the MLB rotation, but he has been excellent through four starts (2.31 ERA with 10.4 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9).

    Of course, Reyes isn’t the only pitcher making his way back to the majors. Girsch provided some other updates, as’s Joe Trezza reports (links to Twitter). Carlos Martinez is only just beginning to throw, meaning he probably won’t be back until June — and likely not at the earlier portion of the month. Veteran Adam Wainwright, meanwhile, is still being looked over closely. Since he has already gone on the 60-day DL, he won’t be back for some time.

    Several relievers are also among the moving parts. Lefty Tyler Lyons is expected to be back in short order, though righty Dominic Leone does not appear to be making much progress from the nerve issue that has kept him out. (There’s no update yet on Luke Gregerson, who only recently went on the DL with a shoulder issue.)

    At the end of the day, a slight pitching pile-up is a good problem to have for the Cards, who are engaged in what looks likely to be a year-long battle in a tough NL Central. While there are other strong options, particularly once Martinez is back, the hard-throwing Reyes could be an ace in the hole. He certainly seems ready to pick up where he left off when he headed in for Tommy John surgery last spring. The 23-year-old, who posted a 1.57 ERA in his first 46 MLB innings, has allowed just six hits in 16 scoreless rehab outings thus far in 2018, while racking up 31 strikeouts against six walks in 16 innings.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Taking Advantage Of Roster Flexibility ]]> 2018-05-20T15:24:47Z 2018-05-20T15:15:52Z
  • The Cardinals have taken advantage of minor league options and the 10-day DL with their pitching staff this year, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. Specifically, the Cardinals have shuttled four pitchers with options – Mike Mayers, John Gant, John Brebbia and Jack Flaherty – between the majors and minors to quality results. The quartet has combined for a 3.28 ERA over 49 1/3 innings, and Mayers, Gant and Brebbia have formed “Voltron” in relief, Goold writes. Although the instability likely hasn’t been easy on those pitchers, both Mayers and Brebbia suggested to Goold that they understand the Cards’ plan. For his part, president John Mozeliak said that he’s not sure “if it’s going to become the new norm or not,” adding: ““It’s not intentional to do that. This is not us trying to manipulate any system. It’s just you look at the moves we have made and they’ve all been very logical. If you’re carrying 13 pitchers, it’s because you feel there’s some vulnerability there. I think a lot of this has been more circumstance. You play the hand your dealt.”
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Holland, Martinez]]> 2018-05-20T02:34:51Z 2018-05-20T02:34:06Z Greg Holland’s short tenure with the Cardinals took another disastrous turn Saturday when the once-dominant reliever got the loss against the Phillies, who scored twice on him in 2/3 of an inning. Holland, whom the Cards guaranteed $14MM after he went through spring training unemployed, has now pitched to a sky-high 7.30 ERA with astoundingly poor strikeout and walk rates (6.57 K/9, 10.22 BB/9) across 12 1/3 innings this season. Nevertheless, there’s no indication the the Cardinals will ask him to head to the minors to work through his issues, Joe Trezza of tweets. Even if the Redbirds were interested in demoting Holland, they’d need the 32-year-old’s consent to do so. It doesn’t appear they’d receive it, though, as Holland “flatly denounced the idea” of going down, Trezza writes.

    • In better news for the Cardinals, ace Carlos Martinez received “encouraging” results on the right shoulder MRI he underwent this week, according to president John Mozeliak (Twitter link via Rob Rains of STLSportsPage). Martinez is on track to begin a throwing program Monday and return to the Cards’ rotation within one or two weeks, Rains adds. The fireballer has been out since May 8, before which he notched a 1.62 ERA/3.38 FIP across 50 innings.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Paul DeJong On 10-Day DL With Fractured Hand]]> 2018-05-19T17:07:52Z 2018-05-19T17:06:28Z May 19th, 12:06pm: DeJong’s surgery was successful,’s Joe Trezza reports, though a timetable for his return has yet to be shared.

    May 18th, 4:24pm: Unfortunately, it does not seem that DeJong has suffered a run-of-the-mill fracture. The injury is to his pinky, per’s Joe Trezza (via Twitter). DeJong will undergo surgery this evening to insert a plate, per president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter), with the expectations being that there’ll be a “significant” layoff.

    3:05pm: The Cardinals have announced that shortstop Paul DeJong is heading to the 10-day DL after he was diagnosed with a fractured left hand suffered on a hit-by-pitch. Also headed to the DL is righty Matt Bowman, who’s dealing with blisters.

    To fill the two openings on the roster, the Cards have called up infielder Yairo Munoz and outfielder Tyler O’Neill. Both players are already on the 40-man roster.

    It’s not yet known whether DeJong is a candidate for surgery, let alone what kind of rehabilitation timeline will be required. But his absence will tell, even if it’s for a relatively short period of time.

    The major difficulty for the Cardinals is that, while they feature quite a few infield options, none really profile as regular options at short. Greg Garcia has the most experience at the position in the majors; Jedd Gyorko has lined up at short, but not very often and not for some time. It seems Munoz might also be viewed as an option, as he has spent much of his minor-league career at shortstop.

    Clearly, those players aren’t likely to account for the missing productivity of DeJong, who’s not only a quality fielder but carries a .260/.351/.473 slash through 171 plate appearances on the year. With much of the Cards offense still working to round into form, the loss of DeJong will leave the team without one of its best bats to this point of the season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Wainwright Headed For Further Testing After Inconclusive First Wave]]> 2018-05-18T02:39:43Z 2018-05-18T02:12:42Z The Cardinals’ sudden decision to transfer Adam Wainwright to the 60-day disabled list today means the Cardinals will be without him for a notable portion of the summer, but the exact cause of his elbow pain remains unclear, as Joe Trezza of writes. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said that there’s “nothing that really stood out as a smoking gun” after the first wave of tests, which included an MRI and a bone scan, but he’ll undergo a further series of evaluations tomorrow. “We don’t know what that is right now, other than he has discomfort,” said Mozeliak. While the club obviously has no defined timetable for Wainwright’s return, Mozeliak spoke with some cautious optimism: “He knows he might be part of that second-half push. …. I would guess he’ll pitch again.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Carson Kelly On 10-Day DL, Select Steve Baron]]> 2018-05-17T19:51:03Z 2018-05-17T19:28:05Z 2:28 pm: Veteran righty Adam Wainwright is moving to the 60-day DL to create roster space, the team announced.

    1:55pm: The Cardinals have placed catcher Carson Kelly on the 10-day DL with a hamstring injury, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by fellow backstop Steve Baron, which will mandate a still-undetermined 40-man roster move.

    Kelly, 23, has long been seen as the heir apparent to Yadier Molina, who is himself on the shelf at the moment. But Kelly has struggled offensively in his limited MLB action over the past there years. This season, he has mustered only two singles in 19 plate appearances.

    Francisco Pena has appeared in a dozen games, making him the most-used catcher other than Molina, who’s expected to be out until at least early June. In the meantime, Baron will help hold down the fort. The 27-year-old, a former first-round pick, has appeared briefly in the majors once before. He signed a minors deal with the Cards and was off to an ugly .153/.167/.186 slash in sixty plate appearances at Triple-A.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Luke Gregerson On DL; Carlos Martinez Headed For MRI]]> 2018-05-16T16:59:11Z 2018-05-16T16:59:11Z The Cardinals have placed righty Luke Gregerson on the 10-day DL with a right shoulder impingement, the team announced. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by John Brebbia.

    Meanwhile, starter Carlos Martinez — who has been on the shelf since May 10th — is headed for an MRI to further assess the injury, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets. Martinez won’t return when he’s eligible to be activated, then, but we likely won’t learn more about his anticipated timeline until his imaging is read.

    It’s not clear just how concerning the shoulder condition is. That broad description has resulted in brief DL stints or much more significant problems, so it’s hard to make much of it without more information. Notably, though,’s Joe Trezza adds on Twitter that Gregerson has also dealt with some elbow soreness, adding to the universe of concerns.

    The 34-year-old Gregerson has had some stumbles to start his tenure in St. Louis. Since returning from a hamstring injury, he has thrown only 8 1/3 innings in a dozen appearances, allowing eight earned runs on eight hits (two for home runs) and three walks. He has recorded a typically useful tally of eight strikeouts and 14 groundballs, however, and despite a bit of velocity loss is still maintaining a strong 16.7% swinging-strike rate.

    All told, then, it still seems there’s reason for optimism regarding Gregerson’s ability to contribute this year — so long as he’s able to get back to full health. The Cards owe him $11MM over a two-year term, including a buyout on an option for 2020. While there’s still quite a lot of pitching talent at and near the MLB level for the St. Louis organization, the team is stretched a bit with Gregerson joining Martinez and Adam Wainwright on ice. Fortunately, high-octane youngster Alex Reyes is not only nearing a return from Tommy John surgery, but has opened eyes with his early rehab showing.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Wainwright, Reyes, Wong]]> 2018-05-14T02:33:33Z 2018-05-14T02:31:41Z Here’s the latest out of St. Louis…

    • Adam Wainwright’s return from the disabled list was a brief one, as the righty felt elbow pain while warming up during his start today and lasted just 2 1/3 innings (allowing two runs on three hits and six walks).  Today’s outing was Wainwright’s first after missing over three weeks due to elbow inflammation, and he is likely headed back to the DL in the wake of this latest issue.  He will miss at least his next start, and return to St. Louis for examination.  “I need to pause and get it right. This team deserves more than that and the fans deserve more than that and the organization does, too.  If I’m going to be a force down the stretch, I need to get healthy first,” Wainwright told’s Jay Paris and other media.  The veteran underwent arthroscopic surgery on that same right elbow last October after battling some elbow problems in 2017, and also missed all of the 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery.  With Carlos Martinez also on the DL, the Cards rotation is down to Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, and Luke Weaver, with Jack Flaherty tapped to start on Tuesday.
    • Alex Reyes could also eventually factor into the St. Louis rotation plans, as the star prospect will pitch on Monday in what will be the second of four scheduled minor league rehab starts as he makes his return from Tommy John surgery.  President of baseball operations John Mozeliak told Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the team won’t be moving to a six-man rotation once Reyes is ready, though it remains to be seen exactly how Reyes will be deployed.  “Rather than lay it [the team’s plan] out there for public consumption, I would rather wait and do it based on where we are, where he is, and how to best optimize that,” Mozeliak said.  As Frederickson notes, the Cards are trying to manage Reyes’ workload on several fronts — they want to ease him back into action, while also keeping him fresh to pitch in a postseason race (and into October) and on track to move into a starting role in 2019.  Using him as a multi-inning reliever or piggybacking his outings with another starter would be complicated from an innings-management standpoint, and Mozeliak said that the team could even keep Reyes in the minors if that is what is best for him at this point in his development and recovery.
    • Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Mark Saxon (subscription required) opined that Kolten Wong’s second base glove has become such a plus for the Cardinals that the team should consider giving him more regular playing time, even against left-handed pitching.  Since Saxon’s piece was written, Wong has started each of the Cards’ last two games against southpaw opposing starters, with Jedd Gyorko playing third base and the struggling Matt Carpenter getting a three-game break.  Wong has been one of baseball’s best defenders at any position this season, and his bat has started to show some signs of life after an ice-cold start to the season.  With Jose Martinez more or less locked in as the starting first baseman at this point, it leaves the Cards juggling Wong, Gyorko, and Carpenter between second and third base, with backup infielder Greg Garcia also in need of some playing time.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Brett Cecil, Place Tyler Lyons On DL]]> 2018-05-12T23:31:45Z 2018-05-12T23:31:14Z
  • The Cardinals have activated left-handed reliever Brett Cecil from the disabled list and placed fellow southpaw Tyler Lyons on the DL with a mild back strain, per Joe Trezza of Cecil only made one appearance this year, on Opening Day (March 29), before landing on the shelf with shoulder soreness. Cecil, who’s in the second season of the four-year, $30.5MM deal he signed with the Cards in November 2016, logged a 3.88 ERA with 8.82 K/9 against 2.14 BB/9 across 67 1/3 innings in 2017. Lyons was also an effective piece of the Redbirds’ bullpen last year, though he began this season with an ugly ERA (6.17) in 11 2/3 frames prior to his DL placement.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Undrafted Free Agents, Urshela, Aledmys]]> 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z J.J. Cooper of Baseball America recently answered a question from a Twitter fan about undrafted free agents in MLB. It turns out that there were eight undrafted free agents on MLB rosters at the start of the year, and all eight of them were right-handed pitchers. Unlike football, where there are plenty of UDFA success stories, it’s exceedingly rare for a UDFA to produce significantly at the MLB level. Some outliers include Matt Shoemaker, Miguel Gonzalez, Darren O’Day and Kirby Yates. Of the UDFA’s currently in the majors on opening day, Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez (23 years old) and Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge (28) are the only players below the age of 30. There are a few more fun facts in Cooper’s piece, making it well worth a full read.

    Other items of note as the Tigers and Mariners prepare for a remarkably cold double-header…

    • The Blue Jays announced earlier today that they’ve activated infielder Gio Urshela and optioned outfielder Dalton Pompey to Triple-A Buffalo. Urshela, 26, was recently acquired for cash (or a player to be named later) after the Indians designated him for assignment earlier this month; he’d been on the DL since the start of the season. While acclaimed as somewhat of a defensive wizard, Urshela carries an anemic bat and has posted a wRC+ of just 57 throughout the course of his major-league career.
    • In other Blue Jays news, shortstop Aledmys Diaz has begun throwing, says Ben Nicholson-Smith of He’s expected to begin hitting later this week. Diaz left last Sunday’s game after spraining his ankle, but it doesn’t appear as though the injury will keep him sidelined for much longer than the ten-day minimum at this point. Diaz was acquired from the Cardinals this offseason in exchange for outfielder J.B. Woodman; the shortstop has hit .216/.273/.431 so far with his new club.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mesa Brothers Leave Cuba To Pursue MLB Contracts]]> 2018-05-11T17:54:46Z 2018-05-11T17:48:56Z 12:48pm: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (via Twitter) that the Cardinals have interest in Victor Victor Mesa and have long been monitoring his performance. Of course, St. Louis is one of the eight teams listed below which can only invest $300K in either brother, so it seems quite likely that another club could push bidding past that level.

    11:39am: Outfield prospects Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. have left Cuba with the intent to pursue contracts with Major League clubs, reports Jesse Sanchez of (Twitter link). The elder Mesa brother is 21 years of age, while the younger is still just 16. Victor Victor seemingly confirmed as much this morning by tweeting a picture in which he is wearing a Team USA jacket  alongside his younger brother. They’re being represented by Magnus Sports, per Sanchez.

    Both brothers will be considered amateur players under the collective bargaining agreement and will therefore be subject to Major League Baseball’s international bonus pools, despite the fact that the older of the two does come with six seasons of pro ball in Cuba under his belt. As such, they’ll be limited to minor league contracts and signing bonuses that are relatively minimal when compared to the top prices paid for prior Cuban stars.

    The Mesa brothers are the sons of Victor Mesa, a 19-year veteran of the Cuban National Series who has in the past served as the manager of Cuba’s team in the World Baseball Classic. Scouting info on the pair is somewhat sparse, especially as pertains to the 16-year-old Mesa Jr.

    Prior to last year’s WBC, however, Sanchez called the elder Mesa brother one of the top prospects in all of Cuba, reporting that he was one of the main draws for MLB scouts to the international spectacle. Per Sanchez’s brief report, Victor Victor is a plus runner and defender in the outfield with a strong throwing arm. He enjoyed a terrific campaign in the 2016-17 season in the Cuban National Series, hitting .354/.399/.539 and swiping 40 bases in 70 games — lending credence to reports on his impressive speed. In all, he’s a career .275/.334/.378 hitter in his six professional seasons in Cuba. His aggregate numbers are weighed down, to an extent, by the fact that he made his professional debut at the age of 16 and, unsurprisingly, endured some struggles against the island’s top pitchers in his first couple of seasons.

    There’s obviously a fair ways to go before either will be able to sign with a big league organization. The Mesa brothers will first need to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball — a process that could take several months but has, at times, also taken as much as a year for some players. Even if they’re cleared in short order, it stands to reason that they’d likely wait to sign until at least July 2, when the 2018-19 international signing period kicks off, thus resetting the bonus pools for teams throughout the league.

    Eight teams — the Reds, A’s, Nationals, Braves, White Sox, Astros, Cardinals and Padres — will still be in the metaphorical “penalty box” for previously shattering their league-allotted pools by more than 15 percent and will subsequently be barred for signing any international amateur player for more than $300K. The other 22 clubs will be able to allocate as much of their pool space as they wish to either or both brothers — it’s not clear if the two are set on signing with the same organization — though the new CBA placed a hard cap on signings and no longer allows clubs to exceed their bonus pools in any capacity.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Carlos Martinez On 10-Day DL]]> 2018-05-10T20:15:33Z 2018-05-10T19:51:14Z The Cardinals have placed righty Carlos Martinez on the 10-day DL with a right lat strain, per a club announcement. He’ll be replaced on the active roster for the time being by reliever Mike Mayers.

    At this point, it’s not clear how long Martinez will be down. Clearly, though, the Cards can ill afford to go without a pitcher who has been a steadily excellent presence in the rotation. He’s off to a great start, leading National League starters with a 1.62 ERA on the season.

    As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out (Twitter links), with an off-day coming, the Cards can juggle their rotation to accommodate the addition of Jack Flaherty. Though the top prospect just made a start in Triple-A yesterday, the time off will allow the Cards to move the rest of their starters up a day and slide Flaherty into the back end of that mix. In that sense, Mayers’ promotion to the big leagues could be relatively short-lived.

    The injury to Martinez also puts increased importance on the recovery of both Adam Wainwright and Alex Reyes, the latter of whom, Goold notes, is preparing to return as a starter for the time being. While the Cards have said in the past that they don’t expect him to expose Reyes to the rigors of an every-fifth-day schedule in the rotation, stretching him out as a starter and then scaling back his workload in a transition to the ’pen would be easier than easing him back in via the bullpen and stretching him out in the Majors. Wainwright, meanwhile, could return this weekend.

    [Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]

    With Martinez out for an undetermined period of time, the Cards will rely on Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver and Michael Wacha in addition to Flaherty, once he is presumably called up next week. If Wainwright is indeed activated over the weekend, he’ll be added to that group and round out the rotation. If it’s deemed that the veteran needs additional time to rehab, then perhaps John Gant would receive a second spot start at some point next week.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tommy Pham Injury Update]]> 2018-05-07T02:56:45Z 2018-05-07T02:56:45Z
  • Tommy Pham left Saturday’s game due to what an MRI revealed to be slight irritation in his right hip abductor, the Cardinals outfielder told media (including’s Joe Trezza)  Pham missed a few games due to a similar injury earlier this season, and said that another brief absence could be necessary, though he was hopeful of playing on Monday.  The Cardinals didn’t start Pham in tonight’s game against the Cubs, though he is available to pinch-hit.  Pham is off to a wonderful start, hitting .327/.445/.541 over his first 119 PA and leading the league in on-base percentage.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yadier Molina Undergoes Surgery, Will Miss At Least Four Weeks]]> 2018-05-06T14:58:28Z 2018-05-06T14:55:55Z 9:55am: Molina will miss at least four weeks after suffering a “pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma,” the Cardinals announced (Twitter links via Joe Trezza of They’ve placed him on the DL and recalled Kelly. The club also recalled reliever Mike Mayers, who will take Dominic Leone’s place. Leone is headed to the DL with “right arm upper nerve irritation.”

    8:11am: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina underwent surgery Saturday after being hit in the groin by a foul tip, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak confirmed to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals are now expected to go without Molina for at least a month.

    Molina suffered the injury during the Cardinals’ victory over the Cubs, which was St. Louis’ fourth straight win to open the month of May. The Cardinals, now 19-12, own a half-game lead over the Brewers in what has been a rather competitive NL Central to this point. As usual, their success has come thanks in part to the revered Molina, who has slashed .272/.292/.456 (103 wRC+) with six home runs in 120 plate appearances. Behind the plate, the 35-year-old Molina has ranked as one of the game’s top pitch framers in the early going, and has helped the Cardinals’ staff to the majors’ fourth-best ERA (3.36).

    While Molina has been eminently durable during what could be a Hall of Fame career, this injury may help lead to his lowest games played total since 2014, when he appeared in 110 contests. He has otherwise seen action in at least 136 games in each season since 2009. The Cardinals aren’t exactly accustomed to life without Molina, then, though they’ll have to make do with their reserve backstops for at least a few weeks.

    Without Molina, it seems likely St. Louis will go forward with the 28-year-old Francisco Pena and the well-regarded Carson Kelly, 23, the only other catchers on its 40-man roster. The Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate scratched Kelly from its game Saturday, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch tweeted then, indicating he’s on his way back to the majors after logging a combined 89 PAs at the game’s highest level from 2016-17.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Leone, Mikolas, Wainwright]]> 2018-05-05T17:50:54Z 2018-05-05T17:50:26Z The Cardinals will place setup man Dominic Leone on the 10-day disabled list with what the team is calling a nerve issue in his right biceps, per Joe Trezza of (Twitter links). The team didn’t have enough time following today’s diagnosis to call up a replacement for him, however, so a formal move won’t be made until tomorrow. The St. Louis ’pen already had nine relievers in tow, so the pitching staff won’t be especially short handed even if Leone is unavailable.

    As Stu Durando of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains, Leone was called upon for a relief appearance last night but felt something unnatural in his biceps while throwing his warmup pitches. After immediately calling for a trainer, he exited without throwing a pitch. “It was something I hadn’t felt before and I was concerned,” said Leone. “I didn’t want to put a bad product on the field. I didn’t want to mess with it and potentially hurt myself worse or be ineffective.” It’s not yet clear how long Leone will be out of action at this time, though the Cards figure to have further updates before the weekend is up.

    Here’s more out of St. Louis…

    • While many Cards fans were skeptical of the team’s two-year, $15.5MM deal with righty Miles Mikolas this offseason, but the 29-year-old has gone a long way toward proving his doubters wrong with a 2.70 ERA and a 31-to-2 K/BB ratio through his first 40 innings back in the Majors. Mikolas chatted with the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold about the Cardinals’ offseason pursuit of him, revealing that the division-rival Cubs were also in pursuit of his services before they “cooled of” and eventually struck up a deal with Tyler Chatwood“I guess they didn’t want me that bad,” said Mikolas of the Cubs. “I guess they thought it would be more fun facing me than having me on their staff. They figured they’d take their chances.”
    • Adam Wainwright tells reporters that he’s lined up to make a rehab start with the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate on Monday (Twitter link via Trezza). The veteran has been out since April 22 with inflammation in his right elbow but could seemingly return to the club in the near future if all goes well in Springfield. The 36-year-old posted a 3.45 ERA in 15 2/3 innings to open the season but also turned in an ugly 12-to-8 K/BB ratio and hit a pair of batters in that time, demonstrating questionable control. That said, with both Wainwright and top prospect Alex Reyes nearing returns from the disabled list, the Cardinals are on the verge of adding some significant depth to the pitching staff.