St. Louis Cardinals Rumors

St. Louis Cardinals trade and free agent rumors from

Notable September Call-Ups

Today’s flurry of transactions has been driven by September call-ups as teams look to expand their flexibility with expanded rosters. Only players who are on the 40-man roster can be activated, of course, meaning that several organizations have had to designate or outright players to clear roster space. On the activation side of the equation, we always see big name prospects reach the bigs in early September, though many of the game’s best big-league ready youngsters have already been elevated this year.

We already noted Hector Olivera‘s promotion earlier today, and you can see all of the day’s promotions at the Transactions page. Here are some more of the notable call-ups (for various reasons)…

  • Zach DaviesBrewers — Acquired in the Gerardo Parra deal, Davies is heading into the Milwaukee rotation for his first big league action. The rebuilding Brewers figure to have multiple rotation spots open in the long-term, making Davies’ late audition one to keep an eye on. Be sure to check out the MLBTR Podcast episode featuring the young righty.
  • Miguel CastroRockies — Another recent trade acquisition, Castro was one of the two main pieces (along with fellow righty Jeff Hoffman) who went to Colorado in exchange for Troy Tulowitzki. It’s not clear what role the Rockies have in mind in the near-term, but they’ll get an early look to see whether he will be a part of their plans for 2016.
  • Dalton PompeyBlue Jays — Pompey opened the season with a chance to solidify himself as Toronto’s everyday center fielder, but offensive struggles saw him slide all the way to Double-A. Pompey nonetheless rates as one of baseball’s best prospects, and he’ll again have the opportunity to show the Blue Jays that he can be a long-term piece.
  • Javier BaezCubs — It’s been a difficult season for Baez, who has dealt with the tragic death of his younger sister and then a broken finger but hit well late in the year at Triple-A. Baez’s light-tower power and exceptional bat speed make him one of the game’s most intriguing power prospects, and a huge September could lead the Cubs to pencil him in as their second baseman in 2016.
  • Joey GalloRangers — Speaking of the game’s top power prospects, Gallo wowed the baseball world when he .260/.362/.580 with five homers through his first 14 big league games earlier this year. But, he went 6-for-37 with 22 strikeouts over his next 11 games and was optioned to Triple-A, where his struggles continued. Gallo posted a very three-true-outcomes batting line in 53 games there: .195/.289/.450 with a 39.5 percent strikeout rate in 228 plate appearances. He has as much power as anyone in baseball, but the strikeouts are a concern.
  • Marco Gonzales, Cardinals — The 19th overall pick back in 2013, Gonzales debuted with the Cardinals in 2014 and tossed 34 2/3 respectable, if unspectacular innings. He’s dealt with injuries in 2015 and hadn’t pitched in the Majors this season prior to September. The Cards threw him right into the fire tonight, and things didn’t go well (four runs in 2 2/3 innings). Gonzales could be in line for a rotation spot next season, although with Adam Wainwright returning and Jaime Garcia’s option likely to be picked up, he could begin 2016 in Triple-A again.
  • Rob Refsnyder, Yankees — Refsnyder had a nice season at Triple-A (albeit a bit light in the power department), and Yankee fans have been clamoring for him to inherit the everyday second base job for quite some time. A platoon with Stephen Drew may be more likely, but Refsnyder will get his first extended run on a big league roster this month and hope to impress the team as Drew heads into free agency.
  • Trevor Cahill — Cahill joins the Cubs on a mission to show some semblance of the form he displayed from 2010-13 with the A’s and D-Backs, when he very much looked the part of a mid-rotation starter. Since that four-year stretch (when he notched a 3.72 ERA in 751 innings), Cahill has an ERA just under 6.00 and has been released by the Braves and opted out of a deal with the Dodgers after floundering in Triple-A as well. He’s still only 27.
  • Matt MooreRays — Moore’s return from Tommy John was dreadful, but he flat out dominated Triple-A hitters following a demotion to get his control back in check. Moore had a 3.30 ERA in Triple-A but held hitters to a .207/.273/.333 batting line with a 43-to-8 K/BB ratio in 30 innings, including an Aug. 22 start in which 16 of the 18 outs he recorded came via strikeout.
  • Andrew Bailey, Yankees — The right-hander was a young, ace closer for the Athletics but saw his career fall apart due to injuries after being traded to the Red Sox. He’s thrown well at Triple-A this year after joining the Yankees on a minor league deal, and he’ll now get his first chance at the big league level since way back in 2013.
  • Allen CraigRed Sox — Craig has fallen off the radar after three outstanding seasons with the Cardinals from 2011-13. He’s probably not in Boston’s long-term plans, but a nice September could make it a bit easier for the Sox to generate a little trade interest. Craig batted .274/.368/.350 in Triple-A this season, and while the average/OBP are nice, he had just 18 extra-base hits (14 doubles, four homers) in 399 PAs there.
  • Rex Brothers, Wilin Rosario, Rockies — Formerly two key contributors for the Rockies, both have wilted recently, and both could be viewed as change-of-scenery candidates this offseason. Their September performances, for that reason, are worth keeping an eye on.

MLBTR Mailbag: Carter, Cardinals, Fowler, Desmond

The Astros are making a huge playoff push, with Chris Carter on their roster. How long will this last? Or will we see Tyler White or AJ Reed take over the helm at 1st/DH? I don’t see Singleton making a big difference in the near future. — Chris S.

Carter will remain on the roster through season’s end due to the fact that rosters expand tomorrow, and the team will at least value having that type of bat on the bench as a pinch-hitting option. I’m honestly surprised they’ve stuck with him as long as they have, but I have a difficult time seeing either of the players you mentioned as a September callup. Neither needs to be protected on the 40-man roster this winter in order to avoid the Rule 5 Draft, and Houston does have quite a few players that will need those precious 40-man spots in order to avoid being selected. White will be Rule 5 eligible in the 2016-17 offseason, so I’d imagine that at some point next year, he’ll have a better shot at cracking the Major League roster — especially with Reed moving up the ladder behind him.

Bottom line is that, barring a trade tonight — and it probably wouldn’t be for anyone too exciting — Houston seems likeliest to run with Carter and Singleton down the stretch.

With Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Carlos Martinez all already signed for 2016 and Adam Wainwright presumably returning, do the Cardinals do either of the following: Pick up Jaime Garcia’s option or extend a qualifying offer to John Lackey? — Troy K.

The Cards have the four starters you mentioned as well as Marco Gonzales at Triple-A and Alex Reyes in Double-A (to say nothing of free agent options), but I still think they’re wise to take both of the paths you listed. Lackey will be 37 next season, but we’ve seen recent pitchers like Tim Hudson and Bronson Arroyo come off worse seasons than the one Lackey is handing and land sizable two-year commitments. While a QO would hurt Lackey’s market, the superiority of his performance relative to other veterans that have landed lucrative two-year deals should be enough for him to test the market.

As for Garcia, he’s injury prone and can’t be counted on for 200 innings, but he’s an $11MM lottery ticket with an ERA just north of 2.00 in just under 100 innings right now. When Garcia is right, he’s one of the more underrated pitchers in the game. Gonzales has had injury problems in 2015 as it is, and Reyes might not be ready until late in 2016. Having Garcia as depth would be beneficial, and exercising the option keeps his 2017 option in play as well, in the event that he has a healthy and productive 2016 season. GM John Mozeliak has indicated that he’s leaning toward exercising the option, and I think only an injury will prevent that from happening.

At the top of the season, I would have considered that the Cubs were merely utilizing Dexter Fowler as a stop-gap for Albert Almora. It seems as though Almora’s stock has declined. With Billy McKinney looking one to two years away from making it to the big league team, I was wondering if the recent surge of Fowler(.364 with 7 Extra Base hits over the last 14 games) would prompt Theo to make an attempt to resign Fowler as opposed to chasing players like Parra, Heyward or Upton. With youth on their side, Upton and Heyward appear to be headed towards A-Rod and Cano type money while Parra doesn’t have the track record of Fowler in the batters box or in the field. I was wondering if it appears as apparent to you as it does to me that the Cubs would at least try to retain Fowler on a two year deal. If Fowler isn’t the Cubs CF target, I was wondering who it could be? — Keith S.

The odds of Fowler, a 29-year-old switch-hitting outfielder that could handle center or the corners, settling for a two-year deal this offseason are practically nonexistent in my mind. If the Cubs could retain him on a two-year deal, I’m sure they would have interest, but I’d peg Fowler’s realistic floor at a three-year deal, with a four-year deal seeming perfectly plausible. I’d expect his agents at Excel Sports to come out aiming for five years, honestly. I’d make Fowler the qualifying offer and collect a draft pick when he signs elsewhere. (If, for some reason, he accepts, then Fowler at one year and ~$16MM isn’t a disastrous outcome by any means.)

The Cubs could go multiple routes. Arismendy Alcantara or Matt Szczur represent perhaps underwhelming internal options. A second stopgap via trade (e.g. Peter Bourjos, Cameron Maybin, Gregor Blanco) could make sense, with the team then holding out for a pursuit of Carlos Gomez following the 2016 season. Present free agents like Austin Jackson and Colby Rasmus could be of interest on mid-range deals. And, the Cubs have the talent to try to pry someone like Aaron Hicks, Jackie Bradley or Dalton Pompey away from their current clubs (though the Twins, Red Sox and Blue Jays would probably all seek pitching, so perhaps those three aren’t ideal examples).

What has Ian Desmond’s underwhelming season done to his FA value? Will he be able to top the reported $100 mm deal the Nats previously offered him? — Scott S.

Fortunately for Desmond, there are still 33 games left for him to continue his second-half resurgence. Desmond’s batting .293/.358/.544 with 10 homers and seven steals through 41 second-half contests, and he’s drastically cut down the errors he’d been accumulating. While his overall batting line is still miserable, if he continues at anything close to that stretch, his full-season numbers will at least be passable. In that scenario, his representatives will be able to pitch that Desmond had a rough 87-game patch to open the season before rebounding to his usual self. The case could be made that his first half was merely an aberration, and the preceding three years plus the subsequent two-and-a-half months are what should be expected by a signing team.

This is obviously just a hypothetical scenario, but if Desmond’s final 33 games go exactly as his previous 33 contests did (they, of course, will not), he’d finish with a cumulative .243/.299/.414 batting line and a .291/.356/.534 second half. Entering his age-30 season with the case to be made that he has just three lousy months in the past four seasons, Desmond could make a case for a nice contract. But reaching the amount he reportedly turned down — it should be noted that said offer came with heavy deferrals — seems like a reach.

Put more concisely, Desmond would need six years to get to $100MM+, and that feels too heavy. I do think five years is in play if he maintains his current pace for the final 33 games, however.

Cardinals Hire Randy Flores As Director Of Amateur Scouting

The Cardinals have hired former Major League left-hander Randy Flores as their new director of amateur scouting, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards looked at candidates from other teams before turning to Flores, who retired from the game as a player following the 2010 season, per Goold.

Since retiring, the now-40-year-old Flores returned to USC to complete a master’s degree in education and serve as the baseball team’s assistant coach. He also founded his own company, OnDeck Digital, which uses video capture technology to allow baseball and softball players to critique their own game. Scouts also use the technology to gain access to of video on prospects/players, and 11 Major League teams currently use the service, Goold adds.

Flores spent parts of five seasons in the Cardinals’ bullpen, totaling a 4.35 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 178 innings. He totaled 250 innings in the Majors, working primarily as a left-handed specialist and accumulating a career ERA of 4.61. Flores won a World Series ring with St. Louis in 2006.

The need for a scouting director, of course, is due to the firing of former director Chris Correa, who was dismissed earlier this summer after admitting to having a role in the Cardinals’ breach of the Astros’ computer network.

AL Notes: Rays, Kaminsky, Washington, Park

Marc Topkin runs through the Rays roster to identify six players who have made the most of opportunities to provide surprising value this year in Tampa Bay. Logan Forsythe, added via trade before the 2014 campaign, has arguably been the best of them, putting up a .279/.360/.434 slash with 14 home runs and nine steals while playing multiple infield positions. Forsythe has lined himself up for a nice raise on his $1.1MM arb salary from this season. And a player added just before this season, righty Erasmo Ramirez, has somewhat quietly compiled 123 innings of 3.66 ERA pitching on the year. Ramirez won’t even reach arb eligibility until 2017, making him a nice asset for the future.

Here are a few more notes from around the American League:

  • When the Indians managed to pry young lefty Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals in the Brandon Moss deal, reactions were overwhelmingly positive for Cleveland. Indians GM Chris Antonetti tells Jim Ingraham of Baseball America that he likes Kaminsky’s fastball life, groundball tendencies, command of the zone, and overall pitch mix. Cleveland is not concerned about Kaminsky’s light frame, and intends to give him every chance to reach the big leagues as a starter. The 20-year-old southpaw has pitched to a 2.24 ERA in 104 1/3 innings at the High-A level on the season.
  • The Athletics have named Ron Washington as the team’s third base coach to replace Mike Gallego, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. It was somewhat curious to see the move made now, but the team has struggled with baserunning issues of late and Washington will now have a chance to coach in uniform during games. (He had been prohibited from doing so because of rules limiting the number of uniformed staff.) Nothing more should be read into the decision, writes Slusser, as manager Bob Melvin is still expected to be locked up to a new deal after the season.
  • The Twins have scouted Korean slugger Byung-ho Park “a lot” ever since he was a sixteen-year-old, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. But the increasingly interesting first baseman still seems likely to land elsewhere if he’s posted this winter, Wolfson adds.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Utley, Angels, Zobrist, Zimmermann, Giants, Execs

In his latest notes column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal looks at the failed attempt to acquire Chase Utley made by both the Angels and Cubs. Anaheim “blew it” by not adding Utley, opines Rosenthal, as the Halos had more playing time to offer than the Dodgers but didn’t pull the trigger on a deal despite only having acquired “complementary hitters” in July. (That seems harsh, as there’s no guarantee that the current iteration of Utley is anything more than a complementary piece himself.) As for the Cubs, they initially showed interest while Utley was still hurt, but Utley wasn’t comfortable being traded while on a rehab assignment, says Rosenthal, so the Phils waited to put him through waivers. By the time he returned, Howie Kendrick had been hurt in L.A., creating a match with the Dodgers.

Some more highlights from the column…

  • As others have noted, the Angels‘ GM opening is a tough sell to prospective candidates because Arte Moreno is more involved than the average owner, and Mike Scioscia has more power than the average manager. One rival general manager described the Angels’ GM role to Rosenthal as such: “You take all of the beatings (from Moreno) and you’ve got no power (due to Scioscia).” Jerry Dipoto resigned from his post this summer due to reported clashes with Scioscia.
  • The Blue Jays tried to trade for Ben Zobrist, but the Athletics‘ asking price was Matt Boyd plus other pieces, Rosenthal hears, which was too steep for GM Alex Anthopoulos. Boyd was ultimately one of three pieces used to acquire David Price from the Tigers.
  • Rosenthal reports that the Giants are likely to pursue right-hander Jordan Zimmermann as they look to bulk up their rotation this offseason. However, he notes that the Wisconsin native may prefer to return to the Midwest. Zimmermann ranked eighth on the most recent edition of MLBTR’s Free Agent Power Rankings, though he’s had a couple of rough starts since then.
  • The Giants may also consider attempting to unload the final year of Angel Pagan‘s contract this winter. Pagan is slated to earn $10MM next season in the final season of a four-year, $40MM contract after playing in just 167 games from 2013-14 and struggling at the plate in 102 games to this point in 2015. San Francisco could use Gregor Blanco in center field in the event that they’re able to move Pagan.
  • The recent trend of teams promoting an assistant GM to GM and a current GM to president (as the White Sox and Giants have done) could continue this offseason as teams try to prevent their top AGMs from departing for GM vacancies elsewhere, Rosenthal writes. The Rangers could promote Thad Levine to GM (and presumably elevate Jon Daniels), for instance, and the Cardinals could promote Mike Girsch (presumably promoting GM John Mozeliak as well). And, should Mark Shapiro end up with the Blue Jays, the Indians could bump Mike Chernoff to GM and make Chris Antonetti president (Cleveland previously did his by moving Shapiro from GM to president and Antonetti from AGM to GM). Levine, Girsch and Chernoff could all attract interest from other teams this winter.

Cafardo On Dombrowski, De Aza, Buchholz, Lackey

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe runs down the candidates for the Red Sox GM job.  Frank Wren, who has a history with new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, is believed to be the favorite for the gig, but there are many other candidates who could be in the mix.  Cafardo runs down several intriguing names, including ex-Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd.  For what it’s worth, O’Dowd told Cafardo that he enjoys his current job as an MLB Network analyst and has no idea whether Dombrowski would consider him for a position.  Here’s more from Cafardo….

  • In addition to the Dodgers, the Giants also had interest in acquiring Red Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza after he cleared waivers, but they felt the asking price was too high, Cafardo writes.  Boston acquired De Aza from the Orioles in early June and one has to imagine that the NL West clubs were drawn to him, in part, because he would have served as a highly-affordable rental.  The Red Sox were on the hook for only $1MM of his salary after acquiring him from Baltimore.
  • Ben Cherington probably would have picked up the $13MM option on the injury-prone Clay Buchholz, but Cafardo isn’t sure if Dombrowski will do the same.  One AL GM told Cafardo that Buchholz would likely be in line for “around $15MM on a three-year deal” if he were to hit the open market.
  • Cafardo doesn’t buy the theory that the Red Sox hired Dombrowski quickly in order to give him more time to trade Pablo Sandoval or Hanley Ramirez.  To deal either of the struggling sluggers, Boston “would have to eat major money and that may not be in the cards.”
  • Sources close to Cardinals hurler John Lackey tell Cafardo that the veteran wants to stay in the National League because he’s had an easier time pitching there.  St. Louis has interest in a reunion, though not on a lengthy contract since Lackey turns 37 in October.
  • Tigers adviser Scott Reid has been mentioned as someone Dombrowski could bring with him to the Red Sox, but at this time, Dombrowski has not asked permission to speak with Detroit executives.  Many of those execs also received promotions after Dombrowski’s departure, so it’s not clear if they can be lured away.
  • Agent Alan Nero believes there will be a ripe market for Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. “We’re just preparing for the process right now,” Nero said. “We believe there’s going to be a lot of interest as there was with [Jung Ho] Kang. Major league teams certainly covet right-handed power.” The Red Sox have been scouting the Nexen Heroes star for most of the season and Cafardo suggests that they could platoon him with left-handed-batter Travis Shaw. Even though Park could carry a notable price tag via the posting system, that could be cheaper for the Sox than going after the likes of Chris Davis or Justin Morneau on the open market.

NL Central Notes: Cubs, Brewers, Bourjos

The Cubs have backed out of their $1M deal with Dominican third baseman Christopher Martinez due to an unknown problem with his physical, Baseball America’s Ben Badler writes. The Cubs made Martinez a new offer of $50K, but he rejected it. Martinez was one of a huge number of high-profile signings for the Cubs in the international signing period that began last month. As Badler notes, this isn’t the first time a noteworthy contract with an international signee has fallen apart due to health concerns — the Blue Jays, for example, rescinded an $800K deal with Venezuelan infielder Luis Castro in 2012, and Castro later signed with the Rockies. Here’s more from the NL Central.

  • The Brewers are only beginning their search for a GM to replace Doug Melvin, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. It’s unclear at this point if they will hire someone within the organization or from outside it, and any speculation is premature at this point.
  • The Cardinals have had a string of injuries in their outfield, but Peter Bourjos remains glued to their bench, as Jenifer Langosch of writes. Even with Jon Jay, Randal Grichuk and Matt Holliday out, and with Jason Heyward dealing with a minor injury, Bourjos hasn’t played much, with the team lately favoring Tommy Pham in center. Pham had been hitting well for Triple-A Memphis. “[We are] seeing if we can catch a little lightning from what he was doing in Memphis, and that does create a tough situation for Bourjos to get going,” says manager Mike Matheny. With Bourjos still on the big-league roster, he hasn’t had as many opportunities to get in a groove. He’s hitting .214/.312/.329 this season, and as Langosch notes, he hasn’t had a hit since July 19.

NL Notes: Hamilton, LeCure, Adams, Seager

Let’s take a look at a few notes from the National League:

  • The Reds announced yesterday that speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton will hit the DL, with C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer adding on Twitter that Hamilton suffered a sprained capsule in his right shoulder. It’s not clear at this point how long Hamilton will miss, though he’ll obviously have plenty of time to work back to health over the offseason regardless. It’s been a trying season for the 24-year-old, who continues to draw strong defensive ratings and put up huge stolen base tallies but has hit just .226/.272/.290. He’s still a good bet for a regular role in 2016, when he’ll be looking to increase his production in advance of arbitration.
  • Cincinnati also brought back righty Sam LeCure, who’d spent the entire season at Triple-A. The 31-year-old struggled in the minors as he played out the second year of his extension, and figures as a likely non-tender candidate this fall.
  • Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams is nearly at full-speed in his rehab progression, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. He seems to be slightly ahead of Jon Jay and Matt Holliday, who are also looking to return in the coming weeks. St. Louis is also dealing with injuries to outfielders Jason Heyward and Randal Grichuk, and could theoretically look to add another bat, though it appears that the club will begin to welcome back some key pieces in relatively short order.
  • Top Dodgers prospect Corey Seager played third base the last two days at Triple-A, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes on Twitter. The 21-year-old has spent some time there previously and has cooled off at the plate since moving up to the top level of the minors, so it’s not entirely clear that a promotion is imminent. But as Shaikin notes, with the club designating Alberto Callaspo for assignment last night, Seager could conceivably see some time at short and/or third at the big league level once rosters expand.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Hamels, Cain, Girsch, Utley

The Phillies actually preferred the Astros offer for starter Cole Hamels, but the lefty ultimately used his no-trade protection to block the trade, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports in his latest video. Included in the rejected deal were outfield prospect Brett Phillips and pitcher Josh Hader, both of whom went to the Brewers in the Carlos Gomez trade. The Astros may have been willing to guarantee Hamels’ fourth year, but he ultimately decided against the option.

  • The Royals will have a tough time re-signing several key players. Lorenzo Cain might be the easiest, but he’ll first want to see how Jason Heyward performs on the free agent market. While Heyward is four years younger than Cain, the average annual value “could be instructive” per Rosenthal. Cain is under control for two more seasons. Meanwhile, Alex Gordon can opt out after this season, and he looks like a lock to do so. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, both clients of Scott Boras, are also under club control for two seasons.
  • Cardinals assistant GM Mike Girsch was a candidate for the Padres GM job opening last year. That posting was eventually filled by A.J. Preller. Girsch may be considered for other top jobs, but the Cardinals hacking scandal may put a damper on his market.
  • Chase Utley will use his no-trade rights to pick his next team. Per Rosenthal, Utley may not make an obvious decision. For example, he may or may not be interested in playing for his home town Giants. As was reported repeatedly over the past few days, Utley will seek to find a home where he’ll continue to play regularly both this season and next.

NL Notes: Lamb, Giants, Aoki, Reyes

Just-acquired lefty John Lamb will make his big league debut for the Reds tomorrow, the club announced. Lamb, 25, becomes the first player acquired in the Johnny Cueto deal to see the Cincinnati roster. The former top-100 prospect struggled to regain his form after Tommy John surgery, but had a sturdy 2014 and has been excellent thus far in 2015. Over 111 1/3 innings at Triple-A this year, he owns a 2.67 ERA with 9.5 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9.

  • The Giants have topped the luxury tax limits with their 2015 payroll, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. San Francisco is nevertheless willing to tack on obligations to add Chase Utley (or, presumably, another option). Indeed, the team had already gone over $189MM when it dealt for Mike Leake. Because it’s the first time the Giants have cracked that ceiling, they will owe only a 17.5% tax on the overage, and are expected to avoid any such payments next season.
  • With his move to the DL, Giants outfielder Nori Aoki no longer has a realistic chance to reach 550 plate appearances, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News notes on Twitter. That means that his $5.5MM option for next season will lie solely in the club’s hands. It would’ve become a mutual option had Aoki reached the threshold.
  • Cardinals righty Alex Reyes has opened a lot of eyes inside and outside the organization, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. The 20-year-old just earned a promotion to Double-A after dominating the High-A level with a huge fastball and excellent breaking ball, putting up a 2.26 ERA with 13.6 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings. GM John Mozeliak said that he has actually not received many trade inquiries on Reyes, since other clubs seem to realize that the organization has no intentions of moving the youngster. Reyes shot up to 20th on’s most recent prospect rankings based on his huge upside and encouraging results, though he still has plenty of polishing ahead of him.