St. Louis Cardinals Rumors

St. Louis Cardinals trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

NL Notes: Phillies, Cosart, Latos, Moss

The Phillies finally moved star lefty Cole Hamels at the trade deadline, ending a long saga in which the organization was often criticized for waiting to act. But as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports, Philadelphia’s front office feels that it accomplished what it set out to do in dealing Hamels, as well as Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere“This was as well prepared as we’ve been,” said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “There were no shortage of suitors, and when you’re talking about five or six teams to cover all those players and all those prospects … we started to target some of those guys during the offseason. The scouting and the addition of the analytics portion of these evaluations put us in the best position to be ready to make the trades.” The club sought to balance the desire for quality with the need to add a number of young players with promising outlooks, and outgoing president Pat Gillick praised the job of Amaro and his staff. “He did an excellent job,” said Gillick. “He’s going to do things in a professional manner. He’s going to do things he thinks are in the Phils’ best interest. People might think he’s doing something to save his job, but I’ve always said I have confidence in him that he’s going to carry out his responsibilities in a professional manner.”

Here’s more from the National League:

  • The Marlins seem to have finally diagnosed the underlying issue that has sidelined righty Jarred Cosart for long stretches this year, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. Cosart, a significant trade acquisition last summer, has a disorder in his inner ear that has caused him difficulties with his balance. It’s not hard to imagine how significant an impact that may have had on the 25-year-old, who has struggled this year. The hope is that he’ll be able to receive treatment to ameliorate the issue and return to the bump later this year.
  • After being shipped from Miami to the Dodgers, starter Mat Latos will be pitching both to help drive Los Angeles into the post-season and to set himself up for free agency. As Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times writes, Latos has confirmed that early-season knee issues were a huge factor in his struggles. Since having his knee inflammation rained and undergoing a strength regimen to improve it, Latos says he’s noticed a vast improvement. “I got with the right people,” he said. “They put me on the right program and I’ve stuck with it. I think the results have showed. … Imagine having a lot of fluid in your knee, a lot of pain. That’s my landing foot, so I’m putting all my weight shifted onto that knee. It’s allowed me to clear over my front side and drive the ball down. My velocity has gone up.” Set to hit the open market in advance of his age-28 season, Latos will certainly present an interesting free agent case, especially if he can continue to put up top-of-the-rotation numbers in his new home and put the injury and performance concerns further in the background.
  • Another recent deadline mover, new Cardinals slugger Brandon Moss, says he’s very happy with where he ended up, as MLB.com’s David Cobb reports“I feel really blessed to have the opportunity to be here,” he said. “There’s 28 places I could have gone if I was going to be traded and to be able to come here, I’ve said it a few times, it’s like winning the lottery.”

AL Central Notes: Dombrowski, Tribe, Samardzija

Daniel Norris‘ career as a Tiger got off a fantastic start today as the newly-acquired left-hander held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 innings work.  Norris allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five to earn the victory.  Here’s more from around the AL Central…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is confident that last week’s trades have replenished the club’s reserves of young talent, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.  “We changed the outlook of our organization at the upper levels, which we needed to do,” Dombrowski said of the trades as a whole. “We have traded so many guys in the past. Ideally, you don’t want to be in this position. But based on where we were, we think this gives us an influx of guys who can help us going into next year. It puts us in a good spot going into next year.
  • The Indiansacquisition of pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss was the best trade deadline deal of any team over the last week, Fangraphs’ David Laurila opines.  Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter) is similarly effusive about the deal for the Tribe, calling it “a flat out heist for” Cleveland.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addresses some moves that the Indians made and didn’t make at the deadline as part of a reader mailbag.  Of note, Hoynes says the Tribe didn’t plan to pick up David Murphy‘s contract option for 2016 and that the Carlos Carrasco trade talks “were window shopping for future reference” rather than a concerted effort to trade the right-hander.
  • Jeff Samardzija remained focused on pitching while trade rumors swirled around him, so the righty said not much has changed for him in remaining with the White Sox, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes.  Samardzija is excited about Chicago’s recent play and hopes they can keep building towards a late-season playoff push.

Minor Moves: Cards, Carpenter, Murphy, Clemens

Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Cardinals outrighted right-hander Marcus Hatley and first baseman Dan Johnson off the 40-man roster and sent them to Triple-A, according to the club’s official transactions page.  Both players were designated for assignment earlier in the week.
  • Braves right-hander David Carpenter has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Carpenter was designated for assignment last week and had the option of becoming a free agent, which he declined to stay in the Braves organization.  Carpenter has only appeared in four games for Atlanta this season, posting a 7.36 ERA over his 3 2/3 innings of work.
  • The Brewers released infielder Donnie Murphy, as per the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page.  Murphy signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee in February and had a .257/.352/.371 line over 162 PA at Triple-A Colorado Springs.  The 32-year-old Murphy has appeared in parts of nine Major League seasons with five different teams since 2004.
  • The Royals signed righty Paul Clemens to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com’s transactions page.  Clemens posted a 5.51 ERA over 98 innings with the Astros in 2013-14 and a 5.54 ERA over 26 innings in the Phillies’ minor league system this season.  He was released by the Phils in June.
  • Chris Capuano has accepted his outright assignment from the Yankees and reported to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  The veteran southpaw had the option of becoming a free agent, though doing so would’ve forfeited the roughly $1.7MM still owed to him on his Yankees contract for the rest of the season.
  • Angels right-hander Jeremy McBryde has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, the club’s communications department tweets.  McBryde was designated for assignment earlier in the week.  McBryde has a 4.07 ERA over 659 1/3 career minor league innings, though he’s struggled to a 5.63 ERA in 46 1/3 relief frames for the Halos’ Triple-A affiliate this season.
  • While McBryde’s case has been settled, over 20 players are still in DFA limbo.  Check out the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker for a full accounting of the players still awaiting their next assignment.


NL Central Notes: Cards, Melvin, Pirates, Kang

The Cardinals were rumored to be looking for starting pitching depth at the deadline, but instead beefed up the relief corps in the form of Steve Cishek and Jonathan Broxton.  As GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding quality relievers essentially becomes starting depth as it takes less pressure off the starters to go deep into games.  The new arms also will help cut down on the workload of Kevin Siegrist, Randy Choate and Seth Maness, all of whom have pitched quite often this season.  Some more from around the NL Central…

  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (Twitter links) that he feels “the Mets have taken some unfair criticism about asking for money back in the [Carlos] Gomez deal.”  Melvin explained that teams often for money in one form or another in deals, as “it’s all part of the GM landscape these days.
  • Brewers manager Craig Counsell isn’t sure how long his team’s rebuilding process will take, he told reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), as “we’re always going to be trying to win a baseball game….But evaluating it from a bigger picture is part of our jobs as well.”  Haudricourt wonders if the Brewers and their fans would be able to stomach a multi-year rebuilding effort as the Cubs did for the last few years.
  • The Pirates stuck to their recent trend of making “modest upgrades while not giving away their top prospects,” writes Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  While getting an ace pitcher could’ve come at a big price for the Bucs and come with no guarantee of a playoff spot, Sawchik notes that the rotation is suddenly lacking depth with A.J. Burnett‘s season now in doubt.
  • Also from Sawchik’s piece, he argues that Jung-ho Kang deserves a regular starting job even when Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer return from the DL.  It’s hard to argue Sawchik’s point given how Kang entered today with a .299/.372/.460 slash line over his first 312 Major League plate appearances, giving the Pirates some badly-needed help given their injury-riddled left side of the infield.

NL Central Notes: Chapman, Reds, Brewers

A glance at the NL Central..

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters that there was a lot of interest in Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce, but the Reds were more focused on the free-agents-to-be, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets.
  • Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (on Twitter) hears that the Brewers and Cardinals were never close on Adam Lind.  It would have taken a big haul for Milwaukee to trade Lind within the division since he also has a 2016 option.
  • Jocketty referred to what the Reds are doing as a “reboot,” but not a full rebuild, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com tweets.
  • Jocketty told reporters, including Fay (on Twitter), that the Reds will try infielder Adam Duvall in leftfield at Triple-A Louisville.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/31/15

Today’s minor MLB moves..

  • The Rays announced (on Twitter) that catcher Bobby Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Rangers.
  • The Pirates designated Deolis Guerra for assignment to clear roster a spot for Joakim Soria, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.  Guerra gave up two three-run homers to Brandon Phillips yesterday, which probably didn’t help his job security with the Bucs.
  • The A’s announced that they have acquired lefty Felix Doubront from the Blue Jays for cash.  Doubront was designated for assignment just days ago to make room for the acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki.
  • Caleb Thielbar will be designated for assignment to make room for Kevin Jepsen on the Twins‘ 40-man roster, according to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (on Twitter).
  • To make room for Jonathan Broxton, the Cardinals have designated Marcus Hatley for assignment, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com tweets.
  • The Brewers announced that they have claimed Preston Guilmet off waivers from the Dodgers.  The well-traveled Guilmet didn’t spend much time with the Dodgers, who selected him off waivers from the Rays on July 10. Guilmet tossed three innings for the club’s Triple-A affiliate prior being designated for assignment.  He’s been very good at Triple-A this season, tallying a 1.95 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 32 1/3 innings between Buffalo, Durham and Oklahoma City.
  • The Nationals announced (on Twitter) that they have assigned catcher Dan Butler outright to Triple-A.
  • The Indians announced (on Twitter) that they have acquired left-hander Jayson Aquino from the Pirates for cash considerations.
  • The Pirates have outrighted Gorkys Hernandez to Triple-A, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.
  • The Cubs have designated Ben Rowen for assignment, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com tweets.

Cardinals Acquire Jonathan Broxton

2:10pm: St. Louis will receive $3MM in the trade, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. But $2MM of that is contingent upon the Cardinals declining Broxton’s 2016 option, meaning that Milwaukee will effectively be picking up $1MM of Boxton’s remaining 2015 tab.

11:13am: The Cardinals have officially acquired reliever Jonathan Broxton from the Brewers, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com first reported on Twitter. Outfielder Malik Collymore is going to Milwaukee in the deal, and there will be an unknown amount of cash headed with Broxton to St. Louis (via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, on Twitter).

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Broxton represents yet another turnaround reliever candidate acquired by St. Louis in recent years, including Steve Cishek just days ago. The Cardinals had been rumored at times to be seeking starting pitching depth, but ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter that the team may have elected instead to deepen its pen. That should not only provide additional options as the club waits for the return of Jordan Walden, but will also reduce the burden on its rotation.

The 31-year-old owns an unappealing 5.89 ERA on the year, but his fastball is still averaging better than 94 mph and his peripherals are more encouraging. Broxton has compiled 9.1 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and a 49.5% groundball rate. SIERA grades his contribution at a promising 2.89 ERA estimation.

Broxton is playing in his eleventh big league season, and he’s racked up 576 innings of 3.25 ERA pitching along the way. He no longer posts quite the gaudy strikeout tallies of his youth, and has had some rough seasons along the way, but all said it’s an impressive overall body of work.

Of course, another significant issue with the veteran is his contract. Broxton is owed $9MM this year as well as a $1MM buyout on his $9MM option for 2016. It remains unknown how the financials will shake out, but St. Louis will likely receive some money along with the right-hander.

For the Brewers, moving salary was undoubtedly the primary motivation in striking the deal. The club has now shipped out a variety of veteran players, adding prospects and saving money along the way. It still has several possible trade pieces in its holster, including first baseman/DH Adam Lind and closer Francisco Rodriguez.

In Collymore, Milwaukee adds a 20-year-old outfielder who has played exclusively in the low minors over three years in the St. Louis organization. He’s only compiled 347 total plate appearances in that span, putting up a .286/.360/.429 slash, though he has not hit well in limited time in the Appalachian League this season. His stronger output in Rookie ball last season did earn him the 27th ranking on Baseball America’s pre-season Cardinals prospect list. BA says that he has some upside and raw power, but he has yet to show much in-game pop (at least in terms of home run tallies) and is still somewhat without a home on the defensive side of the equation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Holliday Placed On DL; Cards Unlikely To Pursue Outfield Trades

JULY 30: Holliday has been placed on the disabled list, and GM John Mozeliak has announced that he has Grade 2 strain of the quadriceps muscle, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (Twitter link). Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the Cardinals have no plans to jump back into the outfield trade market, however.

JULY 29: Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday left tonight’s action with a right quadriceps injury, Kevin Modelski of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. It remains unclear at present how serious the injury is, though it occurred to the same muscle that Holliday tore. He missed five weeks for the initial tear.

Obviously, a similar absence would increase the Cardinals’ need to add a bat. The team has long been expected to make a move to fill in for first baseman Matt Adams, and recently called up top prospect Stephen Piscotty to add support. St. Louis has been said to be weighing a move for Adam Lind (or someone of his ilk), and that seems all the more likely now.

The 35-year-old Holliday hasn’t posted his usual power numbers in 2015, but he’s still batting an excellent .291/.411/.422 in 253 trips to the plate. An update on his health will be made tomorrow morning, at which time we’ll know more on whether or not the unfortunate news will prompt the Cardinals to jump into what has already been an exceptionally active trade market this week.


Cardinals Designate Dan Johnson

The Cardinals have designated veteran first baseman Dan Johnson for assignment, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter. The 35-year-old lost his roster spot to make way for the just-acquired Brandon Moss.

Johnson has seen only scattered big league action for most of his career, and has not taken more than 100 MLB plate appearances since 2010. All told, he’s slashed .234/.335/.405 over 1,625 plate appearances in his career. While waiting for his next chance at the big leagues, Johnson has swatted 250 total minor league home runs.


Cardinals Acquire Brandon Moss

The Cardinals have announced the acquisition of first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss from the Indians in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky.

Brandon Moss

With the acquisition of Moss, the Cardinals will add a powerful left-handed bat to their lineup that will replace the injured Matt Adams, who is likely to miss the remainder of the season due to a torn quadriceps muscle. In Adams’ absence, Mark Reynolds has been seeing the lion’s share of playing time at first base, though one would imagine that Moss will now inherit those duties.

The Cardinals are also facing a potential loss of Matt Holliday, who last night injured the same quadriceps muscle that he tore earlier this season. There’s no definitive word on the severity of the injury just yet — he underwent an MRI last night — but an extended absence would be a blow to the Cardinals’ offense that could be partially offset by the addition of Moss. Should Holliday miss a prolonged stretch, Moss is capable of handling the corner outfield, but the Cardinals already have top prospect Stephen Piscotty on the big league roster, and he could slide into left field in that scenario.

Moss was acquired by Cleveland this past offseason in a one-for-one swap that sent second base prospect Joey Wendle to the Athletics. The lefty slugger, who averaged 25 homers per season from 2012-14 in Oakland, has again displayed power in his lone season with Cleveland (15 homers, .190 ISO). However, his walk and strikeout rates have trended in the wrong direction, leaving him with a sub-par .217/.288/.407 batting line on the season. That production is a far cry from the .254/.340/.504 output he showed in his three full seasons with Oakland, though it’s worth wondering if he’s still feeling any lingering effects from offseason hip surgery.

The 31-year-old Moss has typically struggled versus left-handed pitching, and while that should remain the expectation moving forward, the opposite has held true in 2015. Moss is hitting .265/.336/.453 in 131 plate appearances against same-handed pitchers but has just a .191/.262/.382 batting line against righties. Much of the struggles against righties is due to a .221 BABIP when holding the platoon advantage, so one would expect that his production may very well rise with some better fortune. He is, after all, still hitting line drives at a 20.5 percent clip and has actually lowered his infield fly rate.

Moss is earning $6.55MM in 2015 and is controllable through the 2016 season — the Cards will have to sort out the roster when he and Adams are both healthy — but it does seem as though St. Louis paid a steep price in this swap.

The 20-year-old Kaminsky was one of two Cardinals first-round picks in 2013 (Marco Gonzales was the other) and currently ranked as their No. 4 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason update of the team’s top prospects. MLB.com was even more bullish on their own midseason update, ranking him third in the Cardinals’ organization and 88th in all of baseball.

Kaminsky has spent the season pitching at the Class-A Advanced level, where he has a 2.09 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. In their scouting report, Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com write that Kaminsky’s fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range and can touch 95 mph when he needs it, adding that he has the best curveball in the team’s minor league system. His changeup gives him a third pitch that can be solid-average or better. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel would seem to agree, as he pegs Kaminsky’s curveball as a potential 60-grade pitch (on the 20-80 scale), with his fastball, changeup and command all coming in at 50 (average) or better.

St. Louis reportedly discussed Adam Lind with the division-rival Brewers before agreeing to this swap, but it looks as though talks failed to progress, as I wouldn’t imagine they’ll acquire both Moss and Lind, who have somewhat redundant skill sets. Assuming no money changes hands, the Cardinals will be on the hook for about $2.47MM of Moss’ remaining salary.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the one-for-one deal was in place (Twitter link). SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reported late last night that the two sides were discussing a trade involving Moss and Kaminsky.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.