Those moves will clear the way for two other hurlers. The club has activated righty Carlos Martinez, who was expected to be brought back in a relief capacity this weekend after opening the year on the injured list due to shoulder issues. It has also called up righty Ryan Helsley.
Gregerson, who recently turned 35, is one of several recent free-agent bullpen additions that hasn’t worked out for the Cards. He has allowed 7.36 earned runs per nine in his 18 1/3 innings with the club since the start of 2018, a disappointing turn for a long-excellent hurler.
Injuries have taken a toll, with Gregerson’s stuff suffering. Since returning this year after undergoing knee surgery in 2018, he has shown a notable velocity decline and managed only a 4.8% swinging-strike rate — less than a third his career average of 15.0%.
The Cards will eat the remainder of the money owed to Gregerson, including the balance of his $5MM salary this season and a $1MM buyout. The deal included a club/vesting option for 2020.
Leone has also been a frustrating piece for the Cards since coming over via trade in advance of the ’18 campaign. He’s carrying 11.4 K/9 in the early going but has also dished out 4.6 free passes and surrendered 2.1 home runs per nine innings. Through 21 1/3 frames, Leone has been tagged for 19 earned runs.
The Cardinals will continue to pay Leon’s $1.26MM salary. He only just tallied enough MLB service to push into the 4+ service class, so the timing of his (hopeful) return to the majors won’t impact his arb status. But it certainly will play a significant role in what he can command via arbitration and whether he’s tendered a contract this fall.