The Cardinals plan to send Tyler O’Neill to Triple-A where he can get more regular playing time. Luke Gregerson – whose rehab time ended on Friday – will join the big league club, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter).
As Gregerson’s rehab time ran out, the Cardinals had to either add him to the major league roster or risk losing him. Giovanny Gallegos has an option remaining, but he has proven a valuable piece in the Cards pen, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Through ten appearances, Gallegos, 27, struck out a whopping 15.4 batters per nine innings with a 3.86 ERA. The bullpen only figures to get more crowded moving forward as Carlos Martinez prepares to begin a rehab stint with Low-A Peoria on Sunday.
Gregerson, who turns 35-years-old on May 14th, was a stud pen arm from 2009-2016 with an even 33-33 record and 2.84 ERA across 558 games for the Padres, A’s, and Astros. But he was lit up to the tune of a 7.11 ERA over 17 appearances for the Cards in 2018 before hitting the injured list in May and undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in June. Prior to 2018, the Cardinals signed Gregerson to a two-year, $10MM contract with a vesting option for 2020 that is all but moot at this point. He would need to appear in 60 games from here on out for his $6MM option to vest.
O’Neill, 23, has shown significant power potential, but playing time has been sparse. He has seen only five starts despite appearing in 21 games overall. Serving mostly as a pinch-hitter, O’Neill has slashed .263/.282/.395. He hasn’t yet displayed the power that is a hallmark of his game, but he also has yet to play a full game on back-to-back days. Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader, and Jose Martinez are off to great starts this year, as is veteran Dexter Fowler, reducing O’Neill’s role to that of fifth outfielder/pinch-hitter.