The Cardinals’ decision to send Tommy Pham to the Rays caused quite some eyebrow raising among rival executives, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic. (Stark also ran down a host of other interesting items heading out of the deadline in a subscription piece.) Some around the game see it tied to the fact that, after a lengthy run of success, the Cards are increasingly in flux. Pham had seemed a core piece as recently as this past winter, when the team dealt away other young outfielders, but is now the latest player on the move. The St. Louis club is still two games over .500, has plenty of controllable talent, and isn’t even out of the 2018 postseason picture. But one rival questions whether the organization has “a real understanding of where they are within their process.”
- One of those recent outfield swaps brought the Cardinals reliever Dominic Leone, who worked his first rehab outing for Triple-A Memphis yesterday, striking out two batters in an inning of work. That’s good news for the right-hander, who has been sidelined for much of the year with a biceps nerve problem. He’s still controllable through 2021, so the Cards have time to reap value from the 26-year-old.
- Meanwhile, it’s possible that veteran reliever Luke Gregerson won’t return to the majors this year, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch recently tweeted. Gregerson was sidelined with a shoulder injury when he suffered a torn meniscus that required surgery. The 34-year-old, who inked a two-year, $11MM pact with St. Louis over the winter, has only thrown 12 2/3 frames for the club this season. He allowed ten earned runs in that span, but more worryingly showed some other declines. Gregerson was working at about 1.5 mph less with his average heater than in 2017 while sporting a 12.6% swinging-strike rate that’s well off of his recent levels.
- In other pitching news, the organization has decided to bump rookie Austin Gomber into the rotation to take the place of Carlos Martinez, who just headed back onto the DL, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). The 24-year-old Gomber has thrown 22 1/3 innings of 3.22 ERA ball this year in the majors, though his peripherals (7.3 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 33.3% groundball rate) aren’t quite so promising. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes on Twitter, the organization could soon face an “innings crisis” if it can’t get lengthier outings from its young arms while several veterans work back from the DL. Fortunately, as Langosch recently reported, there is some continued optimism that Martinez won’t require a lengthy absence, though it remains concerning that he has suffered a string of problems in his shoulder and back.